DOD Grant Funds Hale Kula Up­grade

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Front Page -

BY JAIMIE KIM

Ma­jor changes are on the way for Hale Kula El­e­men­tary School, fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of a $26.6 mil­lion award from the U.S. Depart­ment of De­fense (DoD) and $6.6 mil­lion grant from the state Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DOE).

The $33.2 mil­lion will be used for im­prove­ments through­out the cam­pus.

“We are very ex­cited to re­ceive fund­ing to up­grade our school,” said prin­ci­pal Jan Iwase. “Our school was built in 1959, and the mod­ern­ized fa­cil­i­ties will help us pre­pare our stu­dents to be 21st-cen­tury thinkers and learn­ers.”

The award process be­gan in 2011, when the DoD be­gan to re­view the fa­cil­i­ties of 157 of the 160 pub­lic schools that ex­ist on mil­i­tary bases. Ac­cord­ing to their re­port, Hale Kula, which is on Schofield Bar­racks, was ranked ninth worst out of the 160 schools re­viewed.

As part of a $250 mil­lion ef­fort to up­grade pub­lic schools on mil­i­tary bases na­tion­wide, Hale Kula was

in­vited to ap­ply for funds in Oc­to­ber 2011.

Fol­low­ing the ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tion, the DOE worked with the DoD Of­fice of Eco­nomic Ad­just­ment (OEA) from De­cem­ber 2011 to Fe­bru­ary 2013 to sub­mit a pro­posal, hosted a fed­eral site re­view and com­pleted a fi­nal on­line grant pro­posal. Schools ap­ply­ing for fund­ing were graded on their con­di­tion and ca­pac­ity.

Now that Hale Kula has re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion of the grant, col­labo- ra­tion is un­der way among the DOE, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, OEA and the school to ad­dress de­fi­cien­cies noted in the ac­cess­ment.

“New build­ings will in­clude an ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing, a li­brary me­dia/stu­dent cen­ter, a two-story class­room build­ing, a cov­ered out­door play court and ren­o­va­tion of the ex­ist­ing class­rooms,” said Iwase.

Ex­ist­ing class­rooms will have tiles and as­bestos re­moved and re­placed with new floor­ing, as well as freshly painted in­te­rior and exte- rior. Also on the list is the in­stal­la­tion of ceil­ing fans and some fur­ni­ture re­place­ment for shelves and cab­i­nets.

Cur­rently, Hale Kula’s mil­i­tary de­pen­dent chil­dren com­prise 98 per­cent of the school’s pop­u­la­tion.

“This much needed fund­ing will help en­sure the chil­dren of fam­i­lies sta­tioned at Schofield Bar­racks can learn in a school with fa­cil­i­ties that meet their needs,” stated U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Con­struc­tion is slated to be­gin this sum­mer and is an­tic­i­pated to be com­plete in Au­gust 2016.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard re­ceives a to­ken of ap­pre­ci­a­tion from Lt. Col. Todd John­son, com­man­der, Head­quar­ters and Head­quar­ters Bat­tal­ion, 25th In­fantry Di­vi­sion, March 27 dur­ing Women’s His­tory Month ob­ser­vances at the Trop­ics War­rior Zone. Gab­bard’s gift was a ma­halo for her role as guest speaker for the event, which was held to rec­og­nize and honor the con­tri­bu­tions and ac­com­plish­ments of fe­male soldiers, past, present and fu­ture. Photo by Sgt. Ari­ana Cary, 25th In­fantry Di­vi­sion.

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