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 firstname.lastname@example.org.