RYAN BENDER / SWITCH STAFF
Island School's new Samuel and Mabel Wilcox Gymnasium is open. The new facility boasts a 94-by-50-foot synthetic Taraflex floor, retractable basketball backboards, skylights and plenty of ceiling clearance to host volleyball tournaments.
Building for the future
Island School's gym is a welcome addition and promises to facilitate athletics
Excitement was in the air as hundreds of students stood on the lanai observing Kumu Sabra Kauka performing the traditional Hawaiian blessing. The Island School hula halau waited inside to dance for the crowd as they entered. The conch shells were sounded, the maile was cut and the doors swung open, generating heavy applause from all the students and staff. The new Samuel and Mabel Wilcox Gymnasium was finally open.
Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters tell us about their high school. Today's school ...
Address: 3-1875 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue 96766
Principal: Robert Springer
web site: www.ischool.org
Faculty adviser: Robin Worley
Editors: Isabelle Worley and Ryan Bender
"It was a much-needed and much-anticipated facility for indoor sports and gatherings, and is a welcome addition to our school and the community," said Mike Goto, Island School's business manager.
The gym is 94 feet by 50 feet with a synthetic Taraflex floor. The ceiling is 25 feet high at its lowest point, perfect for Kauai Interscholastic Federation volleyball tournaments. The motorized basketball backboards can be electronically raised and lowered to and from the ceiling. The skylights allow plenty of sunlight to enter the gym during the day, and there is also an efficient lighting system to keep the building lit during events at night.
Outside, there are spacious restrooms and a concession room for food and beverage sales during events. This room also contains the office of the athletic director and his assistant. The front lanai can also be used for receptions.
"I believe that the gym will create much-needed athletic opportunities to those who aspire to be a member of the smaller team sports, such as volleyball, basketball and, potentially, wrestling," said Director of Admissions Sean Magoun.
Still to be installed are bleachers that can seat as many as 600 spectators. Floor seating can accommodate hundreds more during assemblies.
The gym is already being used regularly as a part of physical education classes for all grades and for basketball and volleyball practices and games. The gym was the venue for a high school dance in February and will also be used for large assemblies like the annual May Day celebration.
Currently under construction, with completion expected during April of this year, is the Frear Center for Hawaiian Culture and the Arts. This pavilion will be used to teach students about Hawaiian culture. It will also serve as a place to learn and perform hula.
This gym is part of Island School's master plan for a fully expanded campus, including a locker room and eight-lane, 25-meter swimming pool, a performing arts center, student lounge, library, cafeteria and multiple classroom buildings and sports fields. There will be a new parking lot and access road to the new area, located east of the current campus facilities.
Island School has also recently opened a new bypass road to the campus, in partnership with Kilohana Plantation and Kauai Community College. This new road completes the loop to the east around the college campus, replacing the entrance road to Kilohana and Gaylord's restaurant and arrives at the highway across from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, alleviating traffic congestion at the Puhi intersection.
All this planning and construction will no doubt lead to a growth in student population and in distinction among the independent schools of Hawaii. The board of directors plans for the school to eventually have approximately 500 students.
"I feel quite positive about Island School's expansion," said Principal Robert Springer. "To a point, the size of a school affects activities available to its students, such as fielding competitive athletic teams and having high-quality music groups."
Even with the expansion, Island School's mission statement remains simple: "A private, independent school with a public purpose -- to service well its students and families and the general public to whatever extent possible."
[ YOU ASKED ]
What do you do to keep our campus green?
"I pick up for others and recycle because not being green is mean."
"I plant seeds in the ground and water them every day."
"We clean up the campus every day to keep it nice."
"I pick up garbage around school so we don't get bugs."
"Last year I helped wire a wind generator at our school. Wind energy helps pay the electric bill, which lowers our tuition and also reduces diesel used to create electricity, which helps the environment."
"I planted trees on campus. I felt like I was benefiting not only our school, but the whole community."
Compiled by Aaron Rozon