Waikoloa School Badly Damaged In Quake

Principal Kris Kosa inside a damaged classroom
Principal Kris Kosa inside a damaged classroom
Cheyenne McKee
Cheyenne McKee
Francesca Tanaka
Francesca Tanaka
Ceilings were destroyed at Waikoloa Elementary
Ceilings were destroyed at Waikoloa Elementary

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii (KHNL) Sunday morning's powerful quakes damaged several big island schools. Waikoloa Elementary took the biggest hit, with all but 8 of its 32 classrooms suffering substantial damage.

The school sits just miles from the epicenter of the earthquakes. Monday the principal and other staffers rummaged through the classrooms one by one trying to get a grasp on the damage.

"When I came I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked. I had damage in my home, but nothing like this" says principal Kris Kosa.

"It makes me sad, but everyone's working together to get everything cleaned up, it's just messy" says sixth-grader Cheyenne McKee.

Everything that was on a desktop or bookshelf wound up on the ground. In fact most everything that was up, came down.

"The main thing is we got all the ceiling tiles down but beyond that we had light fixtures come down even those that were retro-fitted with the earthquake ties" says Kosa.

Because the school was built after 1985, there is no concern for asbestos, however:

"It still has fiberglass, so it still has real tiny particles and it's everywhere. Everything is covered".

School officials are now waiting for the state to assess the damage and come up with a dollar amount before allowing the kids back in.

"Sad because it's our school, we go there and I just feel sorry" says sixth-grader Francesca Tanaka.

"We're here for the kids. And we want to make it safe for the kids to be back here. We take learning very seriously and that s the hard part" says Kosa.

Principal Kosa says earthquake safety drills are performed routinely at the school.