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Long time coming

KAPAA — Cherish Gokan, a fourth-grade teacher at Kapaa Elementary School, said her class came to watch history Wednesday during the groundbreaking and blessing for the new school library.

“The students just learned about the history of Kapaa El from Mrs. Kalei Arinaga,” Gokan said. “From Kealia to where it sits today, the students came today to witness new history.”

The 7,000-square-foot building by Layton Construction will become the school’s library situated adjacent to the cafeteria.

“This area used to be where the auditorium was,” said Carlyn Rapozo, a fourth grader. “Yes, I’m excited to see the library where I can discover books. We used to go to the library we shared with Kapaa High School.”

Dale Keep of Layton Construction said the library was a long time in coming.

The $4.7 million project is targeted for July 2018 completion.

“Now we don’t have to share with the high school because we’ll have our own books,” said Kaiden Corpuz, a fourth grader.

Appropriation for the library was part of the 2009 legislative session which carried over to 2010. The Capital Improvement Project funds were released in 2011 as part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s New Day Works Projects to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

“In 2011 when I was appointed to the State House, my daughter Haley was in the second grade here at Kapaa El,” said Kauai County Council member Derek Kawakami. “I always wanted a library here, and I wanted the ground breaking to take place before Haley graduated. She is now in the eighth grade at Kapaa Middle School.”

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. spoke of the connectivity ranging from the use of local subcontractors to his own time as a student at Kapaa Elementary.

“There was a small library with Mrs. Leong in this area, at one time,” Carvalho said. “We’re all connected to this dream of having a new library — Kaleo Carvalho went to school here, as did Monica Kawakami, Derek’s wife who is an educator. Carrice Caspillo Gardner, representing Gov. David Ige, is an alumnus. My daughter Britney is now a teacher at Kapaa El, and my granddaughter is now a student, here.”

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