School unveils green ‘neighborhood' for youngest students

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A billionaire is backing a new complex at an Oahu school. The $26 million facility will used by the youngest students on campus.

The Omidyar K-1 Neighborhood is for kindergartners and first graders at Punahou. Former student and E-bay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife provided a $6 million dollar challenge grant.

Special features include a natural water catchment system and photovoltaic panels that will power 60% of the energy needs.

"This is designed to teach the children about their connections to the natural environment. We want them to feel that they are a part of our ecosystem. So the rain water that we can hear dripping in the back, we want them to understand that there's a relationship between the sun, and the wind, and the rain" said junior school Principal Mike Walker.

The complex has seven buildings on the 2.5 acre site.300 students will move into the new neighborhood when school starts on August 26th.

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