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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hawaiian homes, school campus will be built in Makaha Valley

by Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kamehameha Schools is advancing plans to develop an estimated $100 million education campus in Mākaha for Leeward O'ahu residents.

The project is envisioned to deliver educational opportunities to area residents ranging from preschool-age children to young adults in a setting integrated with housing on the site of the Mākaha Valley Country Club.

The educational trust is set to accept a gift of roughly 70 acres today from local developer Jeff Stone and the Weinberg Trust, which are also giving about 230 adjacent acres to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to build homes for Native Hawaiians.

Stone and the Weinberg Trust own the 18-hole golf course commonly known as Mākaha-East. The learning and housing campus would gradually be developed on the property over 15 years or so and eventually replace golf operations.

A ceremony is scheduled for this afternoon to announce the land donations.

Kamehameha Schools has openly discussed early-stage concepts for what it calls a "learning innovation complex" in Mākaha since last year.

Parties involved in the deal were reserving comment and other details of the plan until today's formal announcement, though some elements previously have been disclosed.

Roughly, the complex would provide enrichment programs for preschool-age keiki, area public school students and young adults. Elements of the campus could include multimedia and computer facilities, a teacher learning center, language immersion programs, an athletic field, a working taro lo'i and gardens to learn the culture and business of farming.

Such a complex would help Kamehameha Schools which is the state's largest private landowner, but owns no land in West O'ahu extend its mission for educating Hawaiians to an area that is home to the largest concentration of Hawaiians.

The learning complex, however, would educate all Leeward residents, including non-Hawaiians.

DHHL plans to build 400 homes, according to the minutes from a December Wai'anae Coast Neighborhood Board meeting that included a presentation by the agency, Kamehameha Schools and Stone.

Stone is the master developer of Ko Olina Resort & Marina. He led a company that bought Mākaha Valley Country Club with a Weinberg Trust affiliate for $4.4 million in 2004 from an affiliate of troubled Japan-based golf operator Nitto Kogyo Co. Ltd.

Stone had previously offered to buy the neighboring golf course and hotel, the Mākaha Resort & Golf Club, in a bid to win support for $75 million in state tax credits to finance an aquarium at Ko Olina. But that sale was not realized, and the Mākaha Resort isn't involved in the education and housing complex plan.

The Ko Olina aquarium plan was canceled several years ago, and Stone has told members of the West O'ahu community that the Kamehameha Schools-DHHL land donation is a charitable reinvestment in the community with no strings attached.