Kapa‘a Elementary School, one of the largest public schools on the island and one of the largest elementary schools in the state, has never had its own library or administration building, said Principal Dora Hong.
And, while the plan had been to build an administration building first and a library second, community input resulted in a flip-flop of those priorities, she said.
“Kapa‘a El’s never had a library of its own,” though sharing the Kapa‘a High School library with the older students hasn’t really posed many instructional or logistical problems, Hong said.
Since the library is one of the few larger spaces available for teacher meetings and other functions on the adjacent campuses, it has posed problems for accommodating teacher meetings on waiver and training days, she said.
High-school teachers have been asked in the past if they could meet, say, in the high school band room, so that the elementary-school teachers could meet in the library, Hong explained.
“Kapa‘a High School has control over the library, and has shared,” she said.
There are separate sections with elementary-appropriate and high-school-appropriate literature, and high-school officials are good about keeping high-school students separated from the younger students, she added.
“Space is limited,” which means the number of books for the younger students is limited. There are also not enough computers to go around in the library, she said.
Eventually, that is scheduled to change.
Governor Linda Lingle said in a press release she has released $250,000 for the design of a new library building at Kapa‘a Elementary School.
This project will provide Kapa‘a Elementary School students with their own library, and allow Kapa‘a High School students and faculty to regain full use of their library, Lingle said.
“I think it’s time we had our own library and admin (building),” said Hong, who years ago was a teacher at Kapa‘a Elementary.
Kapa‘a Elementary’s enrollment is around 970 students in grades prekindergarten through five, and Kapa‘a High School (grades nine through 12) has close to 1,200 students.
“With a library on their own campus, Kapa‘a Elementary School students and faculty will have better and easier access to the appropriate resources and tools they need to succeed in their studies,” said Lingle.
There are no funds appropriated for construction of the library yet, said Hong, indicating the earlier site of a planned library is where a playground now sits behind the administrative offices of the Kawaihau Road school.
The project is number 41 of 89 as reflected in the state Department of Education’s revised statewide implementation plan, dated Feb. 17.
The total project cost is estimated at $3,330,000. The design is expected to be completed by February 2007, and construction completed by October 2008.
Hong said that $3,330,000 figure was one decided upon some years ago, and with construction costs rising every year, is probably an outdated number.
“I’m pretty sure the amount is going to change.”