By now your have read on the KCA Web site or in the news about the construction process of the new high school in North Kihei (see https://gokihei.org/kca-in-the-news/opening-of-new-kihei-high-school-could-be-delayed-3-to-4-years-star-advertiser).
At KCA, we were very pleased to be contacted by the education writer Susan Essoyan to offer our input. Since publication we have had several community inquiries and comments on the content and related matters so we will try to address them here.
School site location: Over a decade ago the DOE had three potential sites and asked for community input. We rated them. The least favored one was selected by the DOE. We have not been informed why this one was selected and what studies the DOE performed. That matter should be addressed to the DOE, perhaps to Nanea Kalani, a DOE communications specialist quoted in the article.
Then: The latest hurdle for the project is to sort out the pedestrian crossing at Piilani Highway. The Land Use Commission recently affirmed it had imposed a condition for either an overpass or an underpass.
The Department of Education thought a signalized crosswalk would be sufficient but is working to meet the commission’s condition, according to Nanea Kalani. Legislative appropriation was made for a crossing, but funding for design and construction will still be needed, she said.
It has become apparent that the DOE was the only one unaware that an LUC condition is a requirement, not a suggestion. We attended that LUC meeting and applauded the requirement. It has been well-known for over six years. And now the DOE is seeking to blame others for yet more delays!
The original traffic study contracted by the DOE called for a roundabout and a pedestrian underpass at Kulanihakoi, which will be the major access intersection to the school. Note: BOTH does not mean either/or, but somehow the DOE did not “accept” that professional study, which included community input. So next they hired another professional who considered three, (not four) choices, so only one option for a roundabout but two for traffic signal – not a federal recognized safety item! Does this sound like a rigged process?
We appreciate that the DOE shared this flawed study with us, and we advised them of this flaw. Further, KCA is contracting a renowned professional traffic engineer to examine this study and share his findings with the DOE, DOT and elected officials. As always, stay tuned.