School BEAT

Van­dals take action at Wailupe school while city pon­ders plans

MidWeek Islander (East Oahu) - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA GOOLSBY

Wailupe Val­ley School has been sit­ting va­cant for the past six months, fall­ing vic­tim to mi­nor veg­e­ta­tion over­growth, van­dal­ism and over­all ne­glect, and East Oahu res­i­dents want to know: What’s next for the cam­pus’s empty shell?

Crews painted over graf­fiti on the walls, win­dows and doors Dec. 2 af­ter what city of­fi­cials be­lieve were Thanks­giv­ing week­end acts of van­dals. Reg­u­lar in­spec­tions and main­te­nance be­gan July 1, the city said, when the prop­erty re­verted back to the city from the state. At the last in­spec­tion, in mid-Novem­ber, they saw no graf­fiti.

Mayor Mufi Han­ne­mann said the city is still dis­cussing what to do with the old build­ings, but it’s hired pri­vate se­cu­rity in the mean­time and has stepped up po­lice pa­trols to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age. The 51-year-old school was shut down fol­low­ing the 2008-2009 school year, and stu­dents were sent to nearby Aina Haina Ele­men­tary School for fall se­mes­ter.

City Coun­cil­man Charles Djou (Hawaii Kai to Ala Moana) said the city had known that Wailupe Val­ley School was shut­ting down for more than a year be­fore it closed its doors for good. He urged the city to work faster to come up with a fu­ture plan.

“The city has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to take care of its prop­er­ties in a neigh­bor­hood,” Djou said.“The ad­min­is­tra­tion has sim­ply botched its most ba­sic du­ties to the pub­lic here.”

Op­tions dis­cussed in­clude the in­stal­la­tion of a Board of Wa­ter Sup­ply stor­age tank or offices for the city Depart­ment of Parks and Recre­ation. Soil test­ing is planned to de­ter­mine whether the wa­ter tank pro­posal is fea­si­ble.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call Djou at 768-5004 or visit www.honolulu.gov.

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