'Iolani School expansion forces nearby residents to move out
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Iolani School is expanding to bring new classrooms, labs, and a dormitory to campus.
The school says it's excited for the opportunities this will bring its students, but there are mixed emotions from nearby residents who need to move to make way for the expansion.
'Iolani School's Associate Head of School Karen Neitzel said the expansion will help put Hawaii on the map as a destination for college prep education, and it'll provide more local students with the opportunity to attend 'Iolani.
"We're going to be able to take 24 more students than we typically can and that's an area we have great demand," Neitzel said.
The school is also bringing back its student residential program, which hasn't been around since 1959. The new dormitory will house 112 high school students.
Neitzel said, "The opportunity for our students to be exposed to students from all over the world is only going to enrich their experience and make them better prepared."
To make this dream a reality, 'Iolani purchased almost six acres of land adjacent to campus back in 2009. It includes more than two dozen residential buildings, and residents were warned years ago that they'd likely have to move if the school decided to expand.
'Iolani has allowed residents like Jeremy Reyes to move across the street to another building on property for the same rent.
"My daughter's school is right next door so, that's why we decided to stay on the lot," Reyes said.
He said the school has been helpful in making the transition as smooth as possible.
"They're willing to help us, even when we're moving. They provide us with the moving company and boxes," Reyes said.
But not everyone's happy.
Resident Tom Jungson said he bought his apartment as a leasehold and doesn't feel it's right for the school to kick him out.
"They want us to move, but we can't give up. I paid almost $60,000 for the building," Jungson said.
For now, he plans to stay put and hopes that he can come to a compromise with 'Iolani.
"I hope they want to resolve everything peacefully. We don't want conflict," Jungson said.
'Iolani School says only about one acre of the six acre property will be used for the project. Construction is expected to take 14 months.
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