breaks ground on
A new school's 15-acre, $30 millionBy Rod Thompson
first phase is being built
south of Hilo
KEAAU, Hawaii -- Growing up at remote Waikii on Parker Ranch, Barbara Robertson knew she was eligible to attend Kamehameha Schools, but it was pointless to apply.
The cost of sending her to Oahu for an education would be too great for her family.
Today, Robertson is principal at Kamehameha Schools' temporary East Hawaii quarters in Hilo. By the fall of next year, she will be principal at the school's new 300-acre campus on former pasture land at Keaau, south of Hilo.
Ground was broken yesterday for the 15-acre, $30 million first phase of the new school.
Robertson already oversees a school of 152 children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The Keaau campus must be ready for the sixth, seventh and eighth grades next year.
The initial school will consist of two classroom buildings. One will include six standard classrooms and two science rooms. The other will include an art and ceramics lab, a teen health center, Hawaiian cultural facilities, a computer lab and an industrial arts center.
Phase 2, with kindergarten through the fifth grade coming to the Keaau campus, is scheduled for completion in 2002. Eventually up to 2,000 students will attend the school through the 12th grade.
Although the school will be new, there was a sense of continuity in yesterday's ceremonies. Kamehameha Schools was founded by royalty, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. The new site, purchased from W.H. Shipman Ltd., was once owned by King William Charles Lunalilo.