WhiteSpace Architects to Design New $7 Million Kanoelani Elementary School
Cafeteria & Outdoor Pavilion

WhiteSpace Architects has been selected to design a $7 million cafeteria renovation and expansion as well as an adjacent outdoor pavilion at Kanoelani Elementary School in Waipio.

“Improving the learning experience for our students at Kanoelani is always our priority,” explains Principal Stacie Kunihisa. “The cafeteria expansion and outdoor pavilion will give us the opportunity to enhance our students’ learning in the classroom, and to create more meaningful learning opportunities throughout the day by utilizing these new spaces.”

Sustainability was a consideration throughout the WhiteSpace Architects’ re-imagining process to ensure high performance. Flexibility is also key to the new design: The cafeteria will be used as both a dining and multipurpose facility.

The current cafeteria – circa 1986 – was built to accommodate far fewer students when Waipio was much sleepier than it is today: Only 260 students at a time were able to sit at tables during lunch or activities prior to COVID-19. The school now has nearly 750 students from pre-kindergarten to grade six, in addition to a teaching and administrative staff that numbers approximately 85.

Given the size of today’s student body, Kanoelani has three separate lunch periods; the expanded and renovated cafeteria will accommodate all students in only two lunch periods, allowing the students to eat at midday; currently, students start eating as early at 10:30 a.m.

Even more importantly, with only two lunch periods, the school will have much more flexibility with scheduling educational lessons and activities. Furthermore, the school will have expanded time to use the new cafeteria for other non-meal activities.

The outdoor pavilion will be an adjacent, covered space that will allow the entire school to gather comfortably together — rain or shine — for the first time. It will be open-air and designed to take advantage of natural breezes on three sides, providing crucial ventilation. The space will also be large enough to be used for outside learning activities and for assemblies, performances, and presentations; school-wide and school-sponsored events can also be held there.

WhiteSpace Architects hopes to break ground in early 2023. Construction is estimated to take approximately nine months, and school officials hope the new facility will be open early in the 2023-2024 academic year. All activities described above will follow any health-related guidelines in effect at that time.

Architect Laura Ayers, AIA serves as the WhiteSpace project manager.