LIHUE — Work on restoration of the Ae Kamali‘i Preschool started as the mercury teased the 90-degree mark Monday at the facility on Kress Street adjacent to Lihue Christian Church.
“We’re getting air conditioning for all the classrooms,” said Penni Taketa, preschool director. “And we’re getting a permanent roof for the sand play area, and the outdoor kitchen and play area.”
Those are the major projects of the work which started by under the supervision of Craig Kawakami Builders under a $302,659 federal Community Block Development Grant administered through the county’s Housing Agency.
“I don’t think there has been major work done on these buildings since it was built,” said Kanani Fu, County Housing Agency director. “This is leveraging our funds with our community partners to create a better community for everyone.”
Other aspects of the project include re-wiring the complex to bring everything to code, Taketa said. Urinals and adult toilets in the bathroom will be replaced, and the water lines will be changed from galvanized metal to plastic, all in accordance with building codes.
“We’ve had a lot of meetings with the county and the general contractor,” Taketa said. “I don’t think the building has had major work done on it since it was built in the 1930s. We’re also going to install additional electrical outlets during the re-wiring, and the semi-permanent tents will be gone. It’ll be nice to have the children able to play under the roof during rainy days.”
Originally, Taketa said the plan was to have everything done by the start of school on Aug. 14.
“We’ll do what we can,” Kawakami said. “We have good people working on this, so the job will get done.”
Taketa said the buildings have been used as schools since being constructed.
“When it opened it was a boarding school for Westside kids who came to Lihue for school and went home on the weekends,” Taketa said. “Headstart had the buildings for a while before Ae Kamali‘i Preschool opened.”