Charter School's New Home Still Needs Work

Keola Nakanishi
Keola Nakanishi
Micky Huihui
Micky Huihui

July 28, 2007 10:05 PM

By Stephen Florino

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's moved four times in the last five years, but an Oahu charter school is celebrating its latest move -- to a brand new home, they hope will be here for years for come.

For the next 30 years, the school will have a place to call home in Makiki. But officials are worried they won't have enough money to provide the best education to its students as they possibly can.

Parents and students enjoy lunch, and soak up the new atmosphere at Halau Ku Mana public charter school.

"It's awesome, overwhelming, exciting, very happy day," said Principal Keola Nakanishi. "This is part of history in the making for us here."

After bouncing around for years, the school just finished moving in to this site in Makiki, where the lease is for 30 years.

"It's been a very, very long summer," said Micky Huihui, the school's ohana development director. "We've been down here every weekend, pretty much since February, malama aina kine stuff. We've had an incredible outpouring of community support."

But the school still needs a little more. In eight years, they've come up with $850,000 for these facilities, but it needs $150,000 more for a kitchen and halau to complete the campus.

"Without a kitchen and halau, we have no place to serve lunch," said Nakanishi.

Surrounded by lush trees, and the Maunalaha and Papakolea communities, officials say the site is perfect for the school's curriculum -- based on environment, culture, and community. And they want to make sure everything is perfect for the students.

"With our host communities, and Hawaii Nature Center, we hope forward now to 30 years of continuing our culture and environment and community based education," said Nakanishi.

Halau Ku Mana received a large grant from Kamehameha Schools. It also raises money through fundraisers, donations, and sales from a music CD.

Classes at the new campus starts on Tuesday.