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Church launches $18M expansion


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POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2009

A 30-year wait for Kawaiaha'o Church ended yesterday with groundbreaking for its Multipurpose Center, an estimated $18 million building that will serve the growing congregation of the historic downtown church.

“;It is not just for us,”; said the Rev. Curtis Kekuna, the church's senior pastor. “;It is for everyone. Our goal is to make disciples.”;

The two-story facility, expected to be completed in June 2010, will have three classrooms, three conference rooms, a kitchen, a nursery and a laundry room.

“;The new building replaces the old building that just got to be too small,”; said Don Caindec, the project's manager. “;This is a big day for us.”;

Church officials conceived the idea for the facility about 30 years ago under the leadership of the Rev. Abraham Kahu Akaka. About five proposals were introduced over the years, but the plan failed each time.

Finally, about seven years ago, the church began collecting money for the new building. Three years ago the church created an endowment to pay for the construction costs.

Church officials estimate that construction and other costs will equal about $18 million to complete the project, with another $2 million being raised for operations.

Valerie Trotter, treasurer for the church's board of trustees, said the church on the corner of Punchbowl and South King streets had invested $5 million for the facility and thhat a committee aggressively collected $10 million more.

“;This is a critical time,”; Trotter said. “;Fifteen months from now, we'll have a beautiful building.”;

With $5 million needed to complete the building, the church is turning to its congregation of nearly 400 people to donate.

Lance and Leeann Crabbe of Pearl City send their two young children to Kawaiaha'o's preschool and have donated to the facility they say will benefit their children.

“;This really is a facility they will enjoy in years to come,”; Crabbe said. “;This is a big commitment for the congregation. There is a little concern over the costs. It is this generation that will benefit and that will hold the burden that comes with it.”;