The musical stylings of Kalapana could be heard throughout Pauoa on a recent Saturday evening as Kawananakoa Middle School celebrated the re-opening of its newly renovated Princess Kawananakoa Auditorium. It also marked the school's 90th anniversary.
Hundreds of community members, dignitaries, staff and students, and alumni were on-hand to experience the $15 million state of the art upgrades including a new AV and lighting system, air conditioning, upholstered seats and a balcony. The renovated facility retains the same exterior because of its designation as a historic building; however, a lot of work was done on the interior to bring it up to current code.
"The Department has been making significant progress improving our campuses statewide, which includes the highly anticipated renovation of the Princess Kawananakoa Auditorium," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "Mahalo to the school community for advocating and supporting this project, and the State Legislature for providing the necessary funds to make it a reality."
Proceeds from Saturday's concert, which featured Kalapana, Tropic 50 and Emi Hart, will help with purchasing those wish list items, as well as fundraising efforts for future upgrades and programming support.
"The Princess Kawananakoa Auditorium is a vital part of our school community having been the center for many activities. Now restored to its previous glory, it promises to provide an even more beautiful venue for upcoming school and community events. This is a facility that the students and school community can be proud of," shared Principal Ann Sugibayashi, an alumna of Kawananakoa Middle.
With the Princess Kawananakoa Auditorium reopened, the school is now looking to find modular seating platforms for the black box theater, a scissor lift for adjusting light and audio rigging, additional AV equipment, music stands for the band and orchestra performances, and a set of large percussion instruments.
The auditorium was first dedicated in 1937 in honor of Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, who lobbied the Territorial Legislature for the funding to build the facility. The building has a rich history not only for the school but also for the State where it served as a warehouse for storing food and supplies during World War II.
The school, which was originally located in downtown Honolulu, is slated for additional renovations under its Campus Vision Plan – from greener buildings to enhanced aesthetics. For more information about the school and the newly renovated Princess Kawananakoa Auditorium, click here.