Sunday, January 14, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 14, 2001

Seagull Schools plans new Ko 'Olina facility

By James Gonser
Advertiser Leeward Bureau

Ko Olina — Based on the demand at its Kapolei location, Seagull Schools plans to more than double its Leeward Oahu capacity by building a new school on a two-acre site to be donated by the Ko Olina Corp. and by expanding its current operation.

Chuck Larson, executive director of the nonprofit Seagull Schools, told the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board last week that its Kapolei child-care and adult-care programs are both filled to capacity, with 220 children and 25 adults, respectively, and both programs have waiting lists. Larson said 40 adults are waiting to enter their program, which shows a significant need for senior care in the area.

"Kapolei is not through growing, and there are lots more businesses planned out here," Larson said. "We see this as staying one step ahead of demand."

Larson said the school expects to spend $4 million to build its new Ko Olina facility and $1 million to double the enrollment at its Kapolei adult center and expend the children’s center.

The group has enlisted Jeff Stone, co-manager of Ko Olina Partners LLC, and Dave McCoy, chief executive officer at Campbell Estate, as co-chairmen for the fund-raising effort for the expansion.

Larson said the school will seek grants and matching donations from government and private sources.

Ralph Harris, vice president of Ko Olina Corp., said the land gift is contingent on city approval of a zoning change for the site from general preservation, which is how the golf course is zoned, to community business district, which would allow for the school. The developer has already filed a zoning change application.

Larson said the new zoning would give the school the flexibility to open a commercial kitchen and prepare its own food.

The site is on the Ko Olina grounds mauka of railroad tracks on Alinui Drive near the golf maintenance building.

Larson said he hopes to have new zoning secured in about a year and for construction to begin four to six months later.

Seagull opened its Kapolei school in 1995 on a 1.6-acre parcel adjacent to Kapolei Regional Park.

Larson said the Kapolei day-care center incorporates an intergenerational program, which allows the adults to spend time in the classrooms interacting with the children.

He said the program has proven beneficial for everyone and will likely be expanded at the new site.

Harris said Seagull’s child- and day-care operations would benefit not only Ko Olina residents, but the entire community.

Larson said he expects to create 10 new positions with the expansion of the Kapolei facility and 50 new jobs at the Ko Olina site.

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