Waimea Canyon Middle School playground dedicated

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Real maile from Koke‘e waits to be untyed, Wednesday at the Waimea Canyon Middle School covered playcourt.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Zion Kahawai launches for the basketball net as Waimea Canyon Middle School instructor Joy Kagawa looks on, Wednesday during the dedication of the new covered playcourt at the Waimea Canyon Middle School.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Waimea Canyon Middle School principal Melissa Speetjens, Pastor Sam Bustillos, and Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina invite guests inside the covered playcourt after Bustillos’ blessing, Wednesday.

WAIMEA — Waimea Canyon Middle School principal was glad the dedication of the school’s covered playcourt could proceed, Wednesday at the school’s far end of its parking lot.

“It’s not quite all done, and there is still some work to be done, but the state-approved us to bless the place,” Speetjens said. “This is good because the Physical Education teachers have no place to do their work because the roof on their building is being worked on.”

Speetjens was joined by Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina and a handful of school and Department of Education leaders in dedicating the building that already displayed tell-tale scuff marks on its freshly-painted floor. One of the teachers undid her smartphone for live streaming on social media, receiving Zoom greetings from Rep. Dee Morikawa and Sen. Ron Kouchi, both of whom were instrumental at the State Legislature in securing funding for the project.

Speetjens described the covered playcourt as a multi-function structure because the school will be using it for Physical Education and other school functions. The community will be able to enjoy some of its functions suitable for the structure’s architecture.

“There’s still work that needs to be done,” Speetjens said. “We don’t have any bleachers for any of the spectators to the sports being played. That is the school’s responsibility. We just got the building.”

According to reports filed by The Garden Island newspaper in 2020, the original Capital Improvement Project request was granted at $1.5 million in 2015. As work started, an additional $1.39 million would be needed to complete the project that was handled by Shioi Construction that was awarded the Community Member of the Year honors by Speetjens.

Nely Caberto, who works at the DOE offices in Lihu‘e, but resides on the Westside, said there also needs to be additional security fencing to keep the keiki from finding ways around the locked gates.

“And, concrete walkways from the parking lot to each of the two main entrances would be nice,” Caberto said. “The other entrances all have nice sidewalks leading to the side entrances. It can get pretty muddy when it rains, and older people don’t like to get muddy.”

Zina congratulated everyone involved in the amazing achievement that took place during the year everyone was dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic.

“Any time you can do something like this during this pandemic, it’s a great achievement,” Zina said of the project that, despite the medical crisis, was blessed just a year shy of its original completion date of the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Zion Kahawai did not care about any of that. As the maile lei was undone symbolizing the opening, the little tyke scooted off, first across the concrete seating, them around the freshly-painted basketball court, ending with an imaginary ball being lofted at the three-point arc.

“I got the first score!”

  1. RGLadder37 March 18, 2021 12:16 am Reply

    Wow. All the way back when I was in grade school to middle school. Some time in 1977, Mrs. Quizons 7th grade class, history and learning the history of Hawai’i. The playground was uncovered, but everyone loved it. They covered it up now. Must be the pandemic. They have convinced many people to not take in too much sunlight. And many have become whiter or more conscious of indoors. Even the sport fans have take note of when to cover up, so as not become too black. Skin Cancer. Great idea for the outdoor activity goers. They can now enjoy outdoors activities more, but indoors and under the shade. Happy for the kids of today.

  2. RGLadder37 March 18, 2021 12:41 am Reply

    I took this off the internet. And I’d like to share it with the kids of today. It may not be important now, but if you read it and like it, keep this in mind. So you’ll know…

    Poem or chant. Say it to your self. You’ll be a queen just like the poem says. Hindus go through this chant. Really

    Being white is a curse you?
    I’ll see but if being white you wish to be
    then let this spell work on me, spirit of old
    Ancient ones grant this to me.

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