Kamehameha Schools considering options for Hualalai
Kamehameha Schools does not currently have a plan to open a K-12 campus in West Hawaii, a spokesman said Tuesday morning.
The Hawaiian school, founded by a trust bequeathed by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in the late 1800s, has entered into a purchase agreement with Hualalai Academy in North Kona to purchase the campus.
“We are still in the due diligence period that is required before our purchase can be finalized,” spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said. “Our focus at this point is completing our due diligence as quickly as possible without interfering with school operations. While firm plans for this facility have yet to be developed, we are actively evaluating options for using this site to support our educational mission. Again, though, we first need to make sure the transaction is completed before we take the next step in deciding how it will be used.”
He said officials expected the process to be completed by the end of the school year.
One option may be to bring Kamehameha Schools’ preschools to the campus, Paulsen said.
“We have had preliminary discussions with both of our current preschool landlords to advise them that relocating those programs could be a possible outcome if our acquisition is successful,” he said. “We felt we owed our landlords the courtesy of informing them of the possibility before they heard it from someone else, and we are committed to keeping them informed as this process continues.”
Hualalai Academy is closing its doors at the end of this school year, following a year of financial problems that nearly culminated in a closure last month, board president Matthew James told parents in a letter sent Monday morning. The board opted to take an offer of an undisclosed amount from Kamehameha Schools to purchase the campus. Another private school, Makua Lani Christian Academy, had also made an offer on the property.
James said earlier this week both schools’ offers prompted comments of strong support and opposition from the Hualalai community.
According to its website, Kamehameha Schools is the largest independent prekindergarten through 12th grade school in the country. It serves thousands of students across the state. The schools’ endowment includes nearly 365,800 acres of land; combined with other assets, the endowment is valued at more than $9 billion, the website said.