Kihei High School Project Moving Forward
By Mark Harbison
After a long wait, the Kihei High School project is moving forward with Governor Neil Abercrombie's endorsement of its final environmental review. This is great news for those with families who want to purchase real estate in South Maui. For many families, Maui real estate purchasing choices depend on proximity to schools. Currently, the Kihei Charter School is the only one serving grades 9-12 in South Maui.
The new high school should be open by 2016, and during the first year there will be 800 students and 120 staff. Currently, there are 704 students from the Kihei area that attend high schools elsewhere on the island, such as at Maui High School and Baldwin High School. The former was over capacity by 200 students this year, and the latter was near capacity. The Kihei High School campus will consist of 77 acres. The land now consists of two vacant parcels that are currently under agricultural zoning.
There had been some concerns that the school would affect traffic on Piilani Highway, but the environmental review indicated that the impact wouldn't be significant. The project still needs $160 million in funding from the Legislature before the design and construction phases. There are, of course, other steps that must be taken, including county and state land-use approvals for the design and construction, as well as an amendment to the Kihei-Makena Community Plan and a change in zoning. There will also need to be a state land-use district boundary amendment from the Land Use Commission. Given all these tasks that lie ahead, delays shouldn't be surprising, but progress is progress.
To deal with excess traffic, the plan is to include a traffic signal system, turning lanes for the campus, and upgrades to both bike lanes and sidewalks. You can see the environmental impact statement at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov.
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