Iolani campus set to expand
By Jennifer Hiller
Advertiser Education Writer
Iolani School will break ground next month on a new $20 million master plan that will add some long-needed classroom space, move traffic away from student pathways and create more open space on campus.
The construction also should make Iolani more accessible to parents and alumni who have had a tough time finding parking there, and should help the campus better accommodate the coed student body it has had for the past two decades, said Headmaster Val Iwashita.
The Honolulu school went coed in 1979 after more than 100 years as an all-boys campus. The doubling of the student body in the early 1980s put a strain on the facilities that was never fully addressed.
"That eventually doubled the size of our school," Iwashita said. "The buildings never really kept pace with that growth. This addresses that past need, but sets us up for the future."
A new 175,000-square foot, three-story multipurpose classroom building will house a computer lab, advanced placement biology lab, four physics labs, college counseling office, 32 classrooms and a performance and meeting hall.
The building also will include 350 parking spaces, stadium seating and a press box facing the school's track and athletic field. It will be completed next summer.
To make way for the work, six tennis courts and some faculty housing units have been torn down. The faculty housing was built in the 1950s to house boarders when the school had them. Director of Communications Cathy Lee Chong said a different part of the 25-acre campus has tennis courts and faculty housing available.
Next, the school will renovate the Castle and Nangaku buildings. It will work on campus traffic flow, adding pick-up and drop-off lanes and moving cars to the edge of campus.
"Classroom space is the top on our list, but we cherish more open space," Iwashita said. "This takes most vehicular traffic off campus. Two roadways become open space for kids." The addition of courtyards and other open areas should also keep the campus looking green despite the new construction, he said.
The school will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at noon May 9 that is open to the public.
Major construction starts in June and should continue through the school year. Renovations on the Nangaku and Castle buildings will start summer 2003 and be complete by August 2003.
"Logistically, it's an encumbrance," Iwashita said. "The site is between our campus and our football field and track. It's not impossible, but it's inconvenient for kids and teachers to move around. There's some noise and dust, but very little functional space is affected. "
The noisiest work will take place this summer, while students are off campus, and because all classes are air-conditioned, Iwashita said construction should not interrupt classes next school year. "For the long term, I think it's well worth the effort," he said.
The school is $15 million into the $20 million fund-raising campaign needed to finance this phase of the master plan.
Major support has come from the school's board of governors, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation, the Margaret and Daniel Ranzman Foundation, the Lin and Ella Wong Foundation and the Atherton Family Foundation.
Reach Jennifer Hiller at email@example.com or 525-8084.