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Saturday, October 22, 2016

A New Beginning . . .

Back on June 13, 2013, I published the first post in this blog and titled it "The Beginning." 3 years, 4 months later, this will be the final post on this blog. Our project has officially ended with the dedication of the last two buildings as well as the renaming of our school.

This has been a journey, one that began with high hopes and certainly didn't disappoint. Our final buildings are fabulous! At our celebration on Monday, October 14, Major General Cavoli from the 25th Infantry Division, stated that they might be the nicest buildings on Schofield right now.

Throughout this project, I was a learner with minimal prior knowledge. I had lots to learn. Using the charrette process, we were able to share our ideas to design our buildings, and our ideas came to fruition during the construction process. There were change orders, delays in shipment, and weather delays, and the school had to endure the challenges of noise, dust, and barricades. As each new building reached completion, I marveled at the construction process and all the workers who make a project come to life. Believe me, I will never look at a construction project in quite the same way; I realize how magical it is to take materials and turn them into a building that can transform people's lives. In our case, these new buildings will transform our teaching and learning at DKIES.

Most importantly, though, I learned that in any job, collaboration is key to success. We couldn't have asked for a better team. They were patient with my endless questions and explained things in layman's terms so I could understand; that was helpful as I updated this blog. They knew that this was a big project, the first in our public school system that was funded 80% by DOD-OEA and 20% by the State, and we all wanted it to be a model for 21st century teaching and learning. I want to thank all those at S&M Sakamoto, Design Partners, Inc., Bowers & Kubota, the Department of Education, and US Army Garrison, Hawaii for being such great partners with us throughout this project.

When we broke ground on July 1, 2013, we were Hale Kula Elementary School. At the end of the project, we are Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School after the Board of Education approved a new name for our school. Now that the $33.2 million construction project is over and our new name is official, it is truly "a new beginning."

Links: Star Advertiser article
Hawaii News Now
KHON News 
Department of Education News Release
Hawaii Army Weekly

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono was at the groundbreaking on July 1, 2013, and she was also present for the completion of our project and the renaming of our school. 
We were honored to have Ken Inouye, the only son of Daniel K. Inouye, speak about his Dad and what he learned from him.
Superintendent Matayoshi, First Lady Ige, U.S. Senator Hirono, Ken Inouye, student MC Caroline Lefaoseu, and MG Cavoli joined me in untying the maile lei. 
We are so honored to have this display case that was donated to our school by the Daniel K. Inouye Institute. The case is filled with memorabilia that shares the legacy of Daniel K. Inouye so students now and in the future will be proud to attend the school that bears his name. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October 12, 2016

It's Fall Break, and we are in the midst of Make a Difference Day with soldier volunteers beautifying our school in preparation for our event next Monday, October 14. We will celebrate the completion of our library media and student support center and the covered play court as well as the renaming of our school to Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School.

The parking lot was repaved by the State and looks so clean and new! We held our Super Eagle Assembly for the first quarter in the covered play court, and we finally have a place to hold school-wide events.  We held our first Book Fair in the library, and it was wonderful to have space for purchasers to browse.  Finally, our playground is refurbished and students are able to use it.

All is good :-)

Students love playing on the newly refurbished playground!
Our first school-wide assembly in the covered play court 
We appreciate everyone's flexibility while our parking lot was closed for 3 weeks due to the repaving project.  
The library is so spacious with lots of room for Book Fair buyers to browse! Thank you to everyone who supported our school by purchasing items at the Book Fair. 
Our marquees are once again being used to share messages with our school community.
Thank you to our military partners, HHBN 25th ID, for showing up to help us spiffy up our campus today! There were so many volunteers; we appreciate all of you.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

On Monday, we received our Certificate of Occupancy for the two new buildings - the library media/student center and the covered play court. Yeah! Now our staff can occupy the building! They're moving their things in and aside from waiting for some furniture to arrive, they are ready to make the final move to their new offices.

Right now, we are undergoing a parking lot repaving project. The State fast-tracked the project so that everything will be done now rather than later. We thank our school community for their continued patience and understanding throughout the construction!

Our bike racks were moved inside our fenced area. Our bike riders love it! We opened the fire lane gate in the morning and the afternoon, and pedestrians and bike riders don't have to go all the way around. It's safer, too! We hadn't thought about opening the gate before, but now that we've tried it, we will continue to open the gate before and after school.
The contractors fixed the curbs of the walkways by the parking lot. Today, they painted the curbs red. 

The pavers brought their equipment on Monday and got right to work. The project is scheduled to be completed by October 7.  
Our staff enjoyed playing in the covered play court at a Wednesday team-building activity. Now we have a place to hold school-wide assemblies! 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September 3, 2016

It's really almost done! We may be able to occupy the new buildings as soon as next Friday! We still have several furniture deliveries and finishing touches to complete, but for the most part, the buildings look pretty ready-to-occupy. We can't wait!

Several layers of emulsifier were applied, and the volleyball poles are in place (they are removable).  
Putting in the stationary screens at the covered play court
Boxes of books that were in storage are waiting to be unpacked.
The court area is painted a sand color, and the outside is this vibrant blue
I enjoyed watching the workers painting the floor; thy use a squeegee to spread the paint, and the lines are so straight.
Wow! Doesn't it look awesome?

Our librarian and library aide are starting to shelve the books.
Hopefully, we'll have some volunteers assist with unpacking and shelving all the books from G4 as well as those that were in storage.
The sliding doors are now installed; they're quite heavy! 
Painting the lines for the courts - I cannot believe how beautiful this covered play court is, and I cannot wait until we can use it!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21, 2016

Each day brings us closer to finalizing the project and occupying the new buildings. After 3+ years with construction workers on campus, it will be odd not to see them around. We've been fortunate to have a great crew working with us, and I will miss them.

Let me share a few more photos.

Mondo grass planted in the front of the library media student support center. 
After the floors were laid out in the library, our custodians went in to wax and buff the floors. We can't wait to open our new 21st century library!
Getting the fire lane ready for planting 
Installing the final windows in the library area
Putting padding in the back of the covered play court so students don't get hurt if they dive for a ball
Ready for the grass on the fire lane by the covered play court
Installing the shelves in the library
Ready for the grass in the front of the school 
The covered play court is awesome! They spread a few layers of emulsifier on the flooring. After that, they'll paint the court and then paint the lines for basketball and volleyball. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 7, 2016

School began for students this past week, and the construction crew really got the area cleaned up! We appreciate them; they have been wonderful, and they work with us to ensure student safety.

Here are a few photos to share what has been going on with the project:

Last Tuesday, workers installed our new school sign in the front of the library building. We saw parents taking photos with their children in front of the sign. We love how it turned out!
The playground refurbishment is still not done :-(
The area is covered by orange netting go keep students out. Hopefully, workers will come back to complete the project this coming week.
Now that the library windows and doors are almost completely installed, workers went in to complete the floors on the second floor tech lab. Those big windows overlook the library. 
Last Friday, concrete was poured for the fire lane by the covered play court. 
The landscapers also mowed the newly-planted grass area. Right now, we have caution tape to keep students out of the area. 
By the end of the day, the concrete had dried nicely. Next, the workers will punch holes in the concrete, fill the cups with dirt, and plant grass.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

July 29, 2016

On Monday, students return to school. We are ready! The construction crew and our custodians did a fine job of getting the school looking good! There are still areas with the orange fencing that act as barriers so students don't go into those areas. Primarily, though, the walkways are open. Here are a few photos from the past couple of weeks.

The grass in the back of the school is growing, but we need to wait a bit until the landscapers turn it over to us. Right now, the area is quite saturated and the ground is too soft. We don't want students ruining the area through overuse.

This is the handicap ramp from building J to the covered play court.
Getting the covered play court floor ready! 
Workers are laying down the floor. Next up - painting the floor and the lines. We will have a regulation basketball court as well as two smaller courts; the basketball hoops are retractable and can be adjusted to heights from 8 to 10 feet. We also have a regulation volleyball court and two smaller practice courts. In short, it is a fabulous facility for our students! Mr. Bevacqua and Mr. Enoki can't wait for it to be ready!
It took a little over a week to install these stairs in the student support area of the new building. Each stair weighed over 400 pounds and had to be placed just right prior to being welded. 
Right now, the peace pole looks lonely, but once the grass is planted and we add benches, it will hopefully have a calming influence for anyone sitting in the area. 
Workers continue to install the windows in the library section of the building. We are waiting for the last shipment of windows to arrive; that's why you see those areas boarded up.
It will be so nice for students to be able to walk all over campus without getting wet when it rains. 
Did you notice the new sign? It was installed this past week!
We had hoped to have the playground ready for the start of the school year, but the refurbishment is not yet completed. There are some pretty cool features; I think the kids will enjoy the new playground! 
The landscapers added plants to the area behind the new library media/student center. We've noticed that the oyster plants are easier for us to maintain so we prefer it to grass.