Parents left scrambling after city reconstruction project forces preschool to move
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For 36 years, Seagull Schools’ Early Learning Center has been above the Civic Center parking garage near the Frank Fasi Municipal Building.
About 220 children of city employees, first responders and downtown workers send their keiki to the preschool. But about two weeks ago, the school got a letter that the city would end its lease in August.
“A little shocked, honestly, and really sad,” said Natalie Muzzini, a teacher and the parent of two children at the school. “I think a lot of these families are scrambling. As you know there’s a shortage of child care and we are one of the largest ones in the city of Honolulu.”
Alex Kozlov, director of the Department of Design and Construction, said there are safety issues throughout the 40-year-old parking garage from water damage, deteriorating rebar and flooding.
The $40 million dollar reconstruction project will take two to four years with the project expected to start in about a year.
Kozlov says he’s not worried the structure would collapse, but says concrete pieces have fallen in the 800-space parking lot. “We’ve already had pieces of concrete fall on people’s hoods,” he said.
Megan McCorriston, the school’s CEO, says they’ve known about the reconstruction project but expected more of a heads up so families could plan.
“I was very surprised like everybody else here,” she said.
“We were always operating under the impression that we would be given at least a year before they notified us of any of any repairs to the parking lot below us.”
McCorriston says the school is looking at alternative locations and hopes something can be finalized before their lease ends this summer.
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