LIHU‘E — Kapa‘a High School junior varsity girls volleyball coach Mai’lika Napoleon said the look of disbelief and astonishment on their faces was indescribable when they first walked into the newly minted Kaua‘i High School gym on Friday.
“It was kind of the look you give when you walk into state competition for the first time,” Napoleon said. “It’s like being somewhere else than a gym.”
Kapa‘a High School was the Kaua‘i High School opponent for the first Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation competition, a girls volleyball matchup on Friday in the gym that doubles the capacity of the former gym at 1,627. A member of the school’s administration announced plans to hold Kaua‘i High School’s graduation for the Class of 2024 in the new facility.
Kaua‘i High School Athletic Director Keli‘i Morgado, during the small blessing of the gym earlier in the month, said the heart of the facility is the action scoreboard that was sponsored by retired General Myron Dobashi and retired educator Jean Dobashi, and their family.
Senate President Ron Kouchi said the new gym represents expanded opportunities for not just Kaua‘i High School, but the island as a whole, noting that there are talks with the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa about bringing over regular — versus exhibition — games in sports like men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball.
With the completion of the $21 million facility, it puts Kaua‘i into having more state level high school competitions, as well as other events such as concerts. This was demonstrated with the presence of the Kaua‘i High School band, which set up in the upper tiers of the bleachers and remained at the contest until the end.
The audience which turned out for the KIF girls volleyball game between Kaua‘i and Kapa‘a was not limited in age, ranging from younger keiki still in elementary school to kupuna that benefited from the Americans With Disabilities Act features in the gym’s architecture.
“This is so trippy,” said Kapa‘a High School varsity coach Tori Tuttle, who grew up playing ball in the network of gyms similar to Bernice Hundley Gym. “Coaching? No, I want to play in here.”
Kaua‘i High School extended mahalo to a long list of people helping to make Friday night happen. The list included Kouchi, Tokioka, Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) Superintendent Keith Hayashi, HIDOE Assistant Superintendent Randall Tanaka, Kaua‘i Area Complex Superintendent Daniel Hamada, Kaua‘i Board of Education member William “Bill” Arakaki and Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, who graduated from Kaua‘i High School.
The list also included former principals Linda Tanoe Smith and Anne Kane, Kaua‘i High School Foundation, Myong Choi of Bowers &Kubota, Conrad Murashige of Shioi Construction, Architects Lori Takeyama-Goshi and Mayumi Dao Hara of John Hara and Associates, Steven Macklin and Benjamin Sons, the Project Consultants, Seiji Yotsuda of American Electric, Information Technology Manager Byron Kapali, Farmer Administrative Services Assistant Lynn Antonio, Foreman for Shioi Construction Russell Chow, DOE Project Coordinator Arnold Fukunaga, Eric Agena and Kent Tomimoto of the Department of Accounting and General Service.
Source: The Garden Island