Lingle allocates $4.5 million for school cafeteria

Hundreds of parents of Kilauea Elementary School students and area residents have waited patiently for a new, large cafeteria they say will enhance the learning experience of their children and help unite community residents.

The residents got good news Wednesday.

In a news release, Gov. Linda Lingle announced she had released $4,465,000 for the construction of the new cafeteria building, replacing an existing cafeteria building that has been deemed by parents as being too small and old for the current needs of the school.

The new building will help accommodate more students as more growth occurs on the North Shore.

“I am happy to release the final amount of funding in order to bring this long-awaited project to fruition,” Lingle said in the release.“The new cafeteria building will be a tremendous asset to the North Shore community on Kaua`i, as it will provide students with a large enough space for meals and school assemblies, and accommodate residents for public meetings and activities.” The construction of the new building is anticipated to be completed by October 2007, Lingle said.

Efforts for the construction of the building got under way last March, when Lingle released $635,000 to design the building.

The project got a boost from state Sen. Gary Hooser, D-Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau, and state Rep. Mina Morita, D-Kapa‘a-North Kaua‘i, as well.

In March 2005, the legislators announced the state Legislature appropriated $2.4 million the year before for the planning, design, construction and purchase of equipment for the new cafeteria.

The $635,000 also was used to conduct an environmental assessment and an evaluation to determine whether the existing cafeteria should be relocated or demolished, because part of the building encroaches on private property.

The studies also were done because the entire school is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The school’s doors opened in 1918, and the cafeteria was built in 1940.

Leaders with the state Department of Education are proposing to build the cafeteria at a new location of the campus, and leave the existing cafeteria at its current location, as long as an adjacent landowner has no objections about parts of the old cafeteria intruding onto his property, DOT officials said in the news release.

If the landowner says the building has to be moved, then government officials will plan and fund the relocation of the old cafeteria in the future, government officials said.

The new building is listed as the 21st of 30 priority projects identified in a DOE $100 million capital improvement project implementation plan.

• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and lchang@ kauaipubco.com.

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