HOLUALOA — Holualoa Elementary students and staff will be starting the new school year with refreshed learning spaces following extensive renovation work over the summer break to address campuswide environmental concerns.
“It's been a complete transformation. We've seen everything from the wall colors change to new flooring, for a whole new atmosphere and environment that our students and our teachers are very fortunate to come back to in this coming school year,” said Principal Kristin Muramoto. “Elementary school is really the foundation for success, and I think the classrooms create a safe and healthy environment where students can learn.”
The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association helped bring attention to some of the environmental concerns and challenges facing the school. The renovations were designed to reduce interior environmental conditions conducive to mold growth in Holualoa’s damp and humid climate zone, situated at an elevation of approximately 1,400 feet above sea level. Classroom renovations began in October 2022 with the majority of work completed during the spring and summer breaks when rooms were not in use to minimize impacts on student learning. A total of 16 classrooms have been overhauled with new tile flooring, interior paint, dehumidifiers, and other improvements.
“We’ve repainted the classrooms with mold-inhibiting paints and removed old floor carpeting to promote better air quality,” said Randall Tanaka, assistant superintendent for HIDOE’s Office of Facilities and Operations. “Open windows and fans will help air circulation during the day and dehumidifiers will help to reduce moisture in the air overnight, which will create an environment well-suited for students to learn.”
In addition, 10 other office and work spaces were renovated, covered walkways were power washed and new furniture was installed in several classrooms at an approximate cost of $1.27 million to date. Throughout the renovations, school leaders have kept the school community informed with progress reports.
“Renovations are only the first step and we’re working closely with school leadership teams to encourage the use of fans, air purifiers and dehumidifiers in concert to sustain the extensive classroom renovations into the future,” said Janette Snelling, complex area superintendent for the Honoka‘a-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area. “I really want to commend the outreach we had to our community partners and industry partners, who all rallied around the needs of the school and came in on very short notice to get the work done, so that teachers and students could be in refreshed classrooms.”
Renovation work is expected to be complete before students return for the new school year in August. Installation of ceiling fans are anticipated during the fall or winter break to improve air circulation.
Holualoa Elementary served 455 students in the last school year in grades pre-K to 5. The campus originally opened in 1897.