Ground broken for new $21 million gym at Kaua‘i High School

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauilani Kahaleikai offers the oli in the shadow of Mt. Haupu as dignitaries prepare to turn the dirt on the new gym at the Kaua‘i High School campus, Monday. Shown are Kolten Gusman, Maggie Cox, Conrad Murashige, Paul Zina, Steven Macklin, Marlene Leary, Rep. James Tokioka, Mayor Derek Kawakami, Hawai‘i Senate President Ron Kouchi, and Amalya Sales.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i High School principal Marlene Leary invites dignitaries, including Hawai‘i Senate President Ron Kouchi, Mayor Derek Kawakami, Rep. James Tokioka, BOE member Maggie Cox, Kaua‘i Area Complex Superintendent Paul Zina, and ASB President and Senior Academic Athlete Kolten Gusman to turn the dirt, Monday at the site of the new $21 million facility on the school’s campus.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Two loads of dirt for social distancing indicate the site for the new $21 million gym that will be built in the shadow of the currently-used Kaua‘i High School gym.

LIHU‘E — What’s going to happen to the old gym?

“There is a lot of talk about the fate of the gym,” said former Kaua‘i High School principal Anne Kane Monday morning at the groundbreaking of a new gymnasium on the Kaua‘i High School campus located on Lala Road. “If I had my way, we’d fix it up and use it for practice — there are basketball and other teams who practice until 8 o’clock. And, the community can use the facility. There are no indoor (or covered) play courts in the Lihu‘e area. But, it’s not up to me.”

Kane was among the dignitaries participating in the groundbreaking of a new gymnasium that will be built in the shadow of the current facility that was built in 1939.

Plans for the new facility started back in the Gov. Linda Lingle administration when Rep. James Tokioka identified a Capital Priority Project and secured $14 million for the facility.

“This has been a dream of mine,” Tokioka said. “To have three gyms built during my time in office.”

Tokioka attributes the collaborative efforts of the legislative team, including Hawai‘i Senate President Ron Kouchi and Mayor Derek Kawakami for making this dream become reality.

At the school level, former principal Kane, Principal Marlene Leary, athletic director Keli‘i Morgado, former AD Ross Shimabukuro, and coaches Derek Borrero and Ipo Yoshioka were at the battle lines.

“We’re looking at a price tag of about $21 million for this new facility,” Leary said. “And, if everything goes on schedule, we get the keys on April 1, 2023.”

Student government officials Kolten Gusman and Alana Cayabyab moved the delegation of officials and dignitaries through the blessing performed by Kaua‘i High School alumnus Kauilani Kahaleikai. The crowd was distributed on plastic dots in adherence to current health and safety guidelines, including self-lei-ing and bento-to-go provided by Bowers &Kubota Consulting.

“Don’t you miss sports?” Leary asked. “I’m the No. 1 Red Raider fan. The gym is not just for the school to be proud of, it’s something the community can be proud of — it’s the connection students make with the community.”

Participating in the turning of the dirt in the shadow of Mt. Haupu with the oli from Kahalekomo, Conrad Murashige, CEO of Shioi Construction was joined by Project Manager Steven Macklin. Kolton Gusman, the ASB President and Senior Academic Athlete and Academic Athlete Amalya Sales represented the students.

Board of Education member Maggie Cox, Principal Leary, Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina represented the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, and government officials including Kawakami and Tokioka, Kaua‘i Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, and Sen. Kouchi.


Dennis Fujimoto can be reached at 245-0453 or

  1. Kapahi84 March 2, 2021 7:47 am Reply

    They should create a place where if there is a big tournament for different sports the off island teams can sleep/cook/hangout, instead of them staying at hotels.

  2. I saw a Vampire once March 2, 2021 8:00 am Reply

    Why is it starting in 2023? Don’t they have the funds now? Seems like a great time to start this thing is now. You know? No sports due to the pandemic. Now would be the time to start it. Less outside activities and interference. Or are they waiting because of red tape yet to be cut?

  3. I saw a Vampire once March 2, 2021 8:38 am Reply

    It only takes 2 months of construction to build this gym. If they had the money now, they could start tomorrow. And by May 2021, this project would be done. What is the hold up? This is a ridiculous funding you have here. What I think? Politics sucks. There is no money and the teachers are the ones to bring in the funds.

    1. Stfu March 2, 2021 4:13 pm Reply

      So your opinion is basically “they should build it now” , wow why didn’t they think of that?
      Truly your wisdom is vast. Do you speak simply to hear your voice and think “wow im so smart”?
      You seem to love to comment on every story on here even though you don’t even have beginners grasp of whatever subject the articles are on. Maybe you should spend your time more wisely and learn about the subjects you like to throw your two cents at.

  4. james Kuroiwa March 2, 2021 10:37 am Reply

    A lot of very special memories in the “old” gym, they say was built in 1939, that survived a couple of hurricanes. Time to move on.

  5. randy kansas March 2, 2021 11:31 am Reply

    in the USA, we spend more money per child on Education, than just about any country in the world, but our kids are not up to par with many other developed nations ? reading, writing and math…why is that ?

  6. Peter March 2, 2021 3:39 pm Reply

    $21 Million for a Gym ? How big is this place going to be ? 75,000 sq ft ?

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