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Thursday, January 18, 2001

Maui mayor wants
school to relocate

By Gary T. Kubota
Maui correspondent

WAILUKU -- Maui Mayor James Apana wants the state to eventually move King Kamehameha III School out of Lahaina town.

The 6-acre site houses 620 students from kindergarten to fifth grade and is located mauka of Lahaina Harbor.

Apana, who is willing to discuss a county land swap, said he would like to see the site become a "green space" and part of the historic restoration of Mokuula, an area once occupied by Kamehameha royalty when Lahaina was Hawaii's capital in the early 1800s.

Built in 1957, the school is on the site where a number of people with royal lineage lived in their youth, including Queen Emma and Princess Nahienaena, according to Friends of Mokuula Inc., the nonprofit group advocating the restoration.

Mokuula Executive Director Akoni Akana said the remains of 18 people were uncovered during construction excavation of a teachers' parking lot near the harbor six months ago.

Akana believes royalty was buried at the site, and he supports moving the school elsewhere.

Kamehameha III Principal Richard Paul said that out of respect for those whose remains were uncovered, the school has halted use of 10 to 15 parking stalls for teachers, and "we're kind of at a crunch for parking."

Ralph Dent, president of the school's Parent Teacher Association, said his group has no objection to moving the school if the state provides a complete school with air conditioning, cafeteria and playgrounds.

Apana said he would like a new elementary school developed north of Lahaina, where there are new residential subdivisions.

The state Department of Education has no plans to relocate the school, said Raynor Minami, interim director of the department's facilities branch.

E-mail to City Desk

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