Lionakis, along with the General Contractor, S&M Sakamoto, and officials from the State of Hawaii and Department of Education (DOE) grabbed their golden shovels for the groundbreaking of the highly anticipated Honowai Elementary School located in Waipahu, Hawaii. The project sits on sacred lands including approximately six acres, adjacent to a community park. The elementary school consists of a multi-phased transformation of the existing campus to prepare it for 21st-century programs and educational delivery while embracing sustainable design strategies. A new, three-story classroom building will serve the Medically Fragile and Special Education Programs, and also includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) lab spaces. Additionally, renovations to the existing buildings will address critical core facility deficiencies.
The campus’ architecture and the school mascot of Na Ali’i (The Chiefs) are reflective in the design and Ali’i (Chief or Royalty) was the inspiration. The capes of the Chiefs – Ahu‘ula – serve as the main design theme. Its graphic patterns and colors (specifically yellow & red) represent hierarchy within the Ali’i ruling class and their families. Ahu’ula personifies protection, as it embraces the school and seeks to ensure the sustenance, existence and growth of its students on their paths to success. The concept board, pictured below, shows some inspiration images for each of these concepts.
The ceremony first opened up with Kent Matsumara, the school Principal, giving opening remarks and thanking the legislators, DOE officials, Lionakis and S&M Sakamoto. Kahu “Uncle” Bruce and his students then performed a traditional blessing. Those with golden shovels mixed in salt with the soil as a symbol of mixing in their spirit and hard work into the ground and then shared a few inspiring words of what this project has meant to them. This project, which is being built on sacred lands, was widely acknowledged by all. The efforts and knowledge pouring into the project from the entire community truly reflect that understanding.