Friday, June 18, 1999

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
A hole is all that's left of one of the many royal palms that were
removed by bulldozers in front of Sacred Hearts Academy.

Trees razed in
Sacred Hearts makeover

By Pat Omandam


What's going on in front of Sacred Hearts Academy is more than just paving paradise to put up a parking lot, says engineer Bill Bow.

Rather, it is a $330,000 face lift that by summer's end will make the Catholic school campus safer, brighter and nicer.

And yes -- the dozens of trees and palms that for decades lined Waialae, 5th and 6th avenues will be replaced, said Bow, president of BOW Engineering & Development Inc. and project consultant for the school.

"We're redoing the parking lot," Bow explained. "It has been this way since the beginning of the school and is not good for pedestrian and traffic circulations."

Public concern about the project emerged this week when construction crews began to tear up the asphalt lot and raze most of the palms and all of the trees along the perimeter of the rectangle-shaped campus that borders Waialae, 5th, 6th and Harding avenues.

That prompted calls from residents to the Outdoor Circle, which was already working with the landscape architect, said Outdoor Chief Executive Officer Mary Steiner.

"We just wanted to know what was going on," Steiner said. "People were worried and concerned, and we thought they needed to know what was happening."

Remee Bolante, a Sacred Hearts vice principal, explained yesterday the school wants to relocate a small faculty parking lot in the back of the campus to the front so it can turn the lot -- which can be entered off 6th Avenue -- into additional playground space. The back lot has long posed a danger to students because of the traffic, she said.


"So what we would like to do is really completely clear the back of cars, lock the gate, and put all the cars in front of the school," she said.

To do so, the school had to add 34 parking stalls to the existing 60 stalls, which meant redesigning the front area to make it more efficient. Lighting for the parking lot was added to the project because it was not lighted at night.

And it was decided the landscape needed to be upgraded because many of the trees and palms along the perimeter were old and posed a safety hazard. They also didn't provide much shade for the area, Bow added.

"What was happening is that the date palms and the royal palms, they were pretty tall and hard to maintain. ... The trees really have reached their end of their life cycles," he said.

Landscape architect Mike Motoda said contractors removed 48 trees this week from the area, keeping only the best six royal palms for relocation to the two driveways onto the property.

Motoda said the area will be replanted with an additional 14 royal palms, as well as 18 kukui nut trees and nine queen's white shower trees. All of the new palms will have a minimum 20-foot trunk height, while the canopy trees will be at least 12 feet tall when planted.

Also, a bougainvillea hedge will be planted along the perimeter of Waialae, 5th and 6th avenues for a uniformed look, he said. The new asphalt parking lot will be marked for easy traffic drop-off and pickup of students.

Motoda said it was better to bring in new healthy trees than to replant the old, disfigured ones. He said the project's contractor tried to get the original trees located to other projects, but no one wanted them.

The two-month project, planned a year ago, is expected to be completed before the fall semester starts Aug. 23.

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