Kamehameha Schools is consolidating operations, bringing the day-to-day land management activities of Kamehameha Investment Corporation under the school’s auspices.
KIC, which is the schools’ for-profit management arm, employs nine people in West Hawaii. Spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said the office is still open and at least four employees will retain their positions, at least during the management transition, for 12 to 18 months.
Kamehameha Schools CEO Dee Jay Mailer said some employees would lose their positions in West Hawaii, but would be given preference as internal candidates for other organizational job openings. Other employees would be retained, at least through the transition.
“As with any significant decision like this, good people will be impacted, and we have tried to soften that impact for our valued KIC ohana,” Mailer said. “Our people are all aware of this reorganization, and we are talking with them about their options.”
Officials claimed the change would allow for a “more holistic approach for Kamehameha Schools as it plans and implements more educational, cultural and community programs and activities in the region.”
Mailer said the changes come as Kamehameha Schools works to focus on its approach to the Keauhou-Kahaluu area, where the school has large land holdings.
“It is important for us to approach Keauhou-Kahaluu as a whole, integrating educational, cultural and community elements with investment and development activities in the region,” Mailer said in a written statement. “This transition builds on the commitment we’ve made to creating Kahaluu Manowai — our culture and aina-based learning center based in Kahaluu makai — and other initiatives on Moku o Keawe (Hawaii Island). Given the cultural richness and deep educational value of these and other wahi pana (sacred places) within KIC’s portfolio, it makes sense for us to have management kuleana for these lands. This is a top priority for Kamehameha Schools in West Hawaii.”
Mailer, who was attending Kamehameha Schools’ song contest Friday, was unavailable for additional comment.
Attempts to reach KIC President Kyle Chock and Kamehameha Schools Vice President Gregory Chun late Friday were unsuccessful.
Kamehameha Schools trustee and KIC board of director member Corbett Kalama said it made sense to bring the operations under the schools’ direct supervision.
“KIC has built a strong foundation for the important work that lies ahead in Keauhou and Kahaluu,” he said. “It is fitting that the lands of these treasures now be consolidated under Kamehameha Schools to develop further their educational and cultural reach.”
Kamehameha Schools and KIC closed the Keauhou Beach Hotel last year, citing finances. School officials said last year they want to turn the former hotel grounds into a cultural learning site.
Just what comes next for Kamehameha Schools’ undeveloped land in Keauhou and Kahaluu has yet to be determined. School officials said they are “identifying new points of contact at KS for residents, tenants and other members of the community.”
Schools’ officials said they plan to continue discussing how they will use their undeveloped land in West Hawaii. They are also developing a new strategic plan to run from 2015 to 2030.