Honolulu, HI (July 27, 2021) – When Wai‘anae High students returned to school on Aug. 3, they were able to enjoy a new $10.7 million facility for the award-winning Searider Productions’ media-education program. WhiteSpace Architects’ design for the new 8,500 square-foot mini-campus includes a lobby/entry, “makery space” or shop, two new classrooms, an office-conference room, new restrooms, covered lanai and a flexible, multi-purpose open courtyard that will be used for classes and to host other gatherings.

“Another big dream becomes a reality thanks to all our students – past and present – and supporters who believed in them since 1993. The new facility will serve as a mini-campus for our program, which has expanded to serve hundreds of students every term and even over school breaks,” explains Co-Founder Candy Suiso, Executive Director of Searider Productions Foundation. “And the flexible spaces will be used for classes for all of our Wai‘anae High School students, as well as allow us to create events that include the local community.” 

About Searider Productions

Wai‘anae High School’s Searider Productions was established in 1993. It is a collective of teachers, students and programs dedicated to helping students of the Wai‘anae complex succeed in all of their endeavors. Searider Productions’ mission is to provide students with the skills, attitude and knowledge needed for success in both the global and local communities.

Searider Productions remains on the site of the 5,500 square-foot former facility on the western side of the campus; the thriving program had outgrown the two separate industrial, near windowless classroom buildings years ago. To facilitate the expansion, the long-unused Wai‘anae High pool building was demolished, while WhiteSpace Architects endeavored to incorporate the two existing Searider Productions’ structures – albeit significantly remodeled – into the new construction and expanded design.

In addition to adding significantly more interior space, the WhiteSpace Architects’ design created covered exterior learning and gathering areas in a mini-campus that is both connected to Wai‘anae High and yet also allows for some delineation. The overall design provides a clean palate – almost a backdrop – as Searider Productions plans to utilize its own creative student talents for future outdoor art (including courtyard murals) to truly put its stamp on the new facility. A lobby space both connects the different areas of the mini-campus and has defined an entry point; it also offers a dedicated display area for student-created products.

Sustainability was a consideration throughout the WhiteSpace Architects’ re-imagining process to ensure high performance. The facility now makes full use of natural lighting with interior spaces that feature large, picture windows that face the new courtyard, taking advantage of the area’s ample, year-round sunshine. That defined, finished courtyard connects and unites the different portions of the facility, while also providing flexibility for learning and collaboration not only among students and educators, but also potentially with the larger community.

Searider Productions is an award-winning program that is recognized as “one of the most innovative creative media programs in the nation” by the Milken Family Foundation when it honored Suiso with a National Educator Award in 1999. 

Architects Laura Ayers, AIA; Elyse Takashige, AIA; and Ana Ruiz, AIA led the design project for WhiteSpace Architects, which broke ground in June 2018. During construction, Searider Productions temporarily re-located to another space on the Wai‘anae High School campus and continued with programs as much as was allowed even during recent months with the COVID pandemic.

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