HONOLULU – 1SG Samuel K. Solomon Elementary broke ground today on a major renovation project to construct four new classroom buildings, a new playfield and new parking areas that will transform the existing campus and provide modern facilities designed to serve 1,100 students.
"The improvements will give the campus an entirely new footprint and create four state-of-the-art buildings that will provide an array of opportunities for our Kindergarteners through fifth graders, in support of our military students," said Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi. "The Department of Defense continues to be a valuable partner in the improvement of our public schools located on military bases and we thank them for their support."
The project received a grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment for approximately $70 million to upgrade and modernize school facilities. State funding will provide nearly $20 million for the remainder of the total project cost.
"It's really important that every student in the state of Hawaii have a foundation that they can build a future with and that means having engaging teachers, a supportive community and access to technology and a strong curriculum," said US Senator Brian Schatz. "In 2017, it also means having a 21st century facility and by investing in this campus, we're investing in all of our kids."
The project will construct 63 new classrooms, a student support center, two computer labs, an audio/video room, a covered playcourt, cafeteria and administrative offices within a two-story, four-building facility, along with new entrance driveways on both sides of campus and more than 170 parking stalls.
"We are going to make sure that military students have the best environment, so that when their parents are away serving us and ensuring our freedoms, that they won't have to worry that their kids are in less than perfect situations," said US Representative Colleen Hanabusa. "They will know that their kids are getting the best education that the state of Hawaii can offer."
The four-year project will proceed in four construction phases. Phase I will demolish the existing open playfield and play courts near Trimble Road in preparation for building construction. Phase II will construct three new classroom buildings, A, B and C, on the former playfield site with completion anticipated in Summer 2019. During that summer, school operations will begin using the new buildings in anticipation of the Fall 2019 semester. Phase III will then relocate existing portable structures and construct new drop-off lanes and parking on the east and west sides of campus. Phase IV will construct the final classroom Building D, demolish the present-day school buildings and construct a new playfield and play courts with completion anticipated in Summer 2021.
Originally opened in 1969, Solomon Elementary is one of two public elementary schools located on Schofield Barracks, a US Army installation, and serves mainly military-dependent students from families with members serving in Army units. In School Year 2016-17, it served 933 students from kindergarten through grade five.
The school is named after 1SG Samuel K. Solomon, Jr., a Hawaii-born enlisted member of the 25th Infantry Division's Wolfhounds. 1SG Solomon earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his courageous effort in saving wounded members of his company in the Vietnam War. As 1SG Solomon was carrying wounded men to safety, he was hit by gunfire and killed in action. The school was officially dedicated as 1SG Samuel K. Solomon Elementary School on November 11, 1969.