(BIVN) -The construction of a new building on the Parker School’s Waimea campus got underway last week with a groundbreaking ceremony.
A traditional Hawaiian ceremony held on Thursday, January 26, marked the start of work on The SMART Center, a planned 21,000 square foot multi-use facility that is said to be the largest project in the Parker School’s 47-year history. From a news release:
This $16 million capital improvement project on Parker’s 20-acre Waimea campus on Hawaii Island is the largest in the School’s 47-year history and will include a 10,800 square foot gymnasium with locker rooms and athletic personnel offices, a 3,600 square foot technology center (three divisible rooms featuring a robotics lab, makerspace and design lab), a 1,600 square foot dance studio, a 1,200 square foot fitness center, a commercial kitchen, and multiple outdoor learning spaces.
“The SMART Center will provide a gathering place spacious enough for our entire 330 kindergarten through grade 12 students for graduations, May Day celebrations, pep rallies, sporting events, robotics competitions, and summer programs,” said David Kirk, Parker School board president.
The SMART Center name is an acronym for the programs supported by the facility – Sports, Mathematics, Arts, Recreation, and Technology – and also acknowledges Richard Smart, sixth generation descendant of Parker Ranch who, through his generosity and vision, ensured Parker School would endure.
Thursday’s groundbreaking represents the cap of a multi-year fundraising effort, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, to meet the demands of current and future students.
“This milestone is the result of hundreds of people within and outside of Parker School, who believe in the power of education to change lives and who want to impact the children of Hawaii Island,” says Stephen Dunn, Parker’s Head of School. “We are grateful for their support and generosity which made this dream a reality, including a game-changing $1 million gift from The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation earlier in this campaign, as well as First Hawaiian Bank Foundation; McInerny Foundation, Bank of Hawaii, Trustee; Atherton Family Foundation; The LGA Family Foundation; The Broadbent Family Foundation; The Dorrance Family Foundation; and Tokyu Foundation,” shared Dunn.