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Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Strange News: DoE Builds School on Time, Under Budget
By News Release @ 10:53 PM :: 3042 Views :: Education K-12

Leaders get first look at the state’s newest elementary school

Ho'okele Elementary is the 256th HIDOE school and serves Kapolei. It will have an initial enrollment of about 450 with capacity for 750 students.

News Release from Hawaii DoE July 21, 2015

KAPOLEI – Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) newest elementary school opened its doors today to educational leaders and area lawmakers. Hookele Elementary School, located across the street from Kapolei High School, is the first school in Hawaii constructed using design-build criteria.

This campus was designed with input from school level administrators and staff who will be working at the site, which will serve children in grades K-5.

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) hosted First Lady Dawn Ige and state lawmakers with a tour of the school followed by a BOE meeting in the cafeteria.

“The work put into this school began with a very strategic approach to support new learning environments,” said Superintendent Matayoshi. “This project was done on time and on budget, which could not have been possible without the public-private partnership commitment.”

D.R. Horton Hawaii provided the land for the project and the 2013 Legislature appropriated $40 million for the construction of the school.

Design-build is a construction project delivery method. Unlike the traditional approach for construction, which consists of the separate selection of a designer and contractor, design-build has a single point of responsibility. This approach reduces risks and overall costs. It also requires funding up front. (View this presentation to the Board on design-build.)

Hookele timeline:

  • April 3, 2014 – groundbreaking
  • Sept. 16, 2014 – BOE approves name Hookele Elementary School (Hookele means navigator and is meant to reflect the learning environment.)
  • March 6, 2015 phase II construction complete
  • Summer 2015, school furniture is moved in
  • July 29, 2015 – school opens to students

The 78,404-square-foot school campus is comprised of seven buildings surrounding a central courtyard including a library, cafeteria and a dedicated arts and science building. The campus features air-conditioned classrooms, learning gardens, flexible learning spaces, a covered play court and a wireless network throughout all buildings.

The school meets the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools 2009 standards. In addition, the school includes an onsite bio-retention and native landscaping. Multiple drop-off entries for parents and school buses as well as expansion areas for increased enrollment if needed have also been incorporated into the plan.

Hookele becomes HIDOE’s 256th active public school campus. Its principal is Laureen Dunn, who played an integral role in the design of the school. To learn more about Hookele Elementary, please visit​


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