The public is invited to a groundbreaking for the new Ka‘u District Gym & Shelter to be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 3, at the Ka‘u High and P?hala Elementary school campus.
Governor Neil Abercrombie will be joined by Mayor Billy Kenoi, Department of Education officials, and Ka‘u High Principal Sharon Beck.
The $17 million Ka‘u District Gym & Shelter is a State-County partnership in which the State is financing design and construction and providing the site for the facility. The County is responsible for design and construction of the facility through the good work of the Departments of Public Works and Parks and Recreation. The facility will be used jointly by the school and the community.
Funds were initially allocated to the State Department of Education for the purpose of constructing the facility in Ka’u. However, the DOE said they would not do so but would use the money for a project they considered higher priority. State Representative Bob Herkes (D-Ka’u) worked with other legislators to take the money away from the DOE and give it to the County to manage construction of the project, as he had obtained the funds specifically to take care of not only the school’s needs but emergency shelter needs in Ka’u.
The 43,300-square-foot Ka‘u District Gym & Shelter will expand athletic and recreational opportunities in the Ka‘u district. It will also serve as a destination for community events and as an emergency shelter during natural disasters. The new Ka‘u District Gym & Shelter will offer residents a gym that will accommodate three regulation Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association basketball or volleyball courts. Accessory rooms will include; locker and training rooms, and restrooms; a lobby, courtyard, kitchen, ticket booths; and office space, and storage areas for the State Department of Education, County Parks & Recreation, and the American Red Cross.
The plans, design, and construction will strive to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines put forth by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). For a building to achieve LEED certification, its construction must meet criteria in six performance standards: a sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.
Construction is scheduled to begin the week of October 11 and will take 18 months to complete.