Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's Official! Our Groundbreaking Ceremony

Monday, July 1 couldn't come quickly enough!  We knew that once the groundbreaking ceremony took place, construction on our new buildings would begin.  But first things first.

We are so appreciative of the work by the Groundbreaking Committee to plan a wonderful event which combined the actual ceremony as well as fellowship and food!  This was the first ceremony we have planned that included so many distinguished visitors.  Most of the other school groundbreakings include the State and City elected officials as well as Department of Education officials. In addition, we invited military leaders as well as our Congressional delegation and officials from the Washington D.C. Office of Economic Adjustment.  I am most appreciative to the military liaison and the US Army Garrison Protocol Officer for making sure we did not offend anyone by not following proper protocol.

Our custodial and office staffs were also instrumental in ensuring that the ceremony would go smoothly.  The custodians stopped their room cleaning to work in the yard.  Even if our school is 54 years old, we take pride in the outward appearance of the grounds.  The custodians trimmed back overgrown plants, weed whacked the whole front area, and the school looked so spiffy!  The office staff did all the "little" things that were necessary to make the whole event go smoothly -- RSVPs, registering the special guests and visitors, preparing the library for the reception, and a myriad of other details.  We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful staff who exemplify our vision, "Working, learning, and succeeding together!"

Even a delay due to a dirt spill which closed down a couple of lanes on the freeway couldn't dampen our spirits!  The groundbreaking ceremony included Governor Abercrombie, US Senator Hirono, BG Johnson, Superintendent Matayoshi, and other military and local leaders as well as our private partners.  Here is a photo just prior to the actual groundbreaking.  (For more photos of the event, click on the hyperlink to the slideshow.)

From left:  Col. Whitney (US Army Garrison-Hawaii), Gary Willis (Office of Economic Adjustment), State Senator Michelle Kidani, State Representative Lauren Cheape, Brigadier General Pete Johnson (25th ID Deputy Commanding Officer), US Senator Mazie Hirono, Governor Neil Abercrombie, State Senator Clayton Hee, Principal Jan Iwase, State Representative Mark Takai, Dexter Kubota (Bowers & Kubota, project managers), Vern Inoshita (Design Partners, Inc., project architects)

Now that the planning/designing/contracting phase is over, the actual construction work begins.  We will be documenting our project from start to finish via a blog titled, "Hale Kula Elementary School - Our $33.2 Million Project!"  While we were researching the history of our school (which was built in 1959), we found very little information.  With the availability of social media and other tech tools, we want to make sure this project is documented and shared with any and all who are interested.  This is a way for anyone connected with our school -- now or in the past -- to follow our progress.  It will be with a touch of nostalgia for those who attended Hale Kula when it was pretty  new back in the 1960's or 1970's.  At the completion of this project, the school will be transformed.  In this 21st century, our students deserve a learning environment which builds on the 4C's -- collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creating.  Add in the 5th C -- choice -- and our students will be successful whether they are here in Hawaii or elsewhere in the United States or the world!

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