Saint Francis School to stay in Manoa
What ever happened to Saint Francis School's possible relocation from its Manoa campus?
Answer: Saint Francis School has decided to stay in Manoa, its home for more than 70 years, turning aside offers to sell its valuable property and rebuild elsewhere.
Instead, it is putting down more roots in the valley. It will open a new gymnasium early next year, bringing much-needed athletic facilities to the all-girls school.
"We did all the research and praying, and we've decided that we're not moving," said Sister Joan of Arc Souza, principal. "We're going to stay here and develop our program and facilities."
The school was approached two years ago by developers interested in its land, in exchange for a new campus to be built in Kapolei. It polled its constituents and conducted an extensive feasibility study.
"We had a number of inquiries and investigated every one," Souza said yesterday. "If it had worked out that there were many more plusses than minuses, we would have done it, but it didn't work out that way." The decision to stay put was made by the board of directors at its October meeting, she said.
The new gym, to be named for Sister Rose Annette Ahuna, will allow the school to host Interscholastic League of Honolulu volleyball and basketball games for the first time. The facility also will be made available to community groups for sports and other events.
The Ahuna Troubadome will seat 420 people in a 7,000-square-foot Sprung Structure with an aluminum arch dome. The $369,000 project also includes buildings that will house restrooms, an athletic office, a weight room and equipment storage.
Ahuna, who graduated from Saint Francis in 1948, joined the convent and went on to teach biology and religion for many years at her alma mater. She is now the health room coordinator and school liaison to the Saint Francis Booster Club.
Saint Francis, which educates about 400 girls in grades six through 12, is still raising money for the gym.
"What Ever Happened to ..." runs Saturdays. This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Susan Essoyan.
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