Honouliuli Middle School’s Fresh Beginning

The West Oahu landscape has experienced significant change over the past few years. Among those are several new housing developments going up in the Honouliuli area that will add to the region’s growing population. At the end of this development boom, approximately 12,000 homes will be added to the area, which is the driving force behind the beehive of Nan, Inc. activity on the previously undeveloped, vacant 18-acre lot next to the existing Kroc Center Hawaii community center. Nan, Inc. ‘s leading role in transforming the Ewa district of the island expanded in 2018 when construction started on Phase 1 of the new Honouliuli Middle School (formerly known as East Kapolei Middle School). 

This initial phase consists of a three-story classroom building, administration, library, cafeteria and music buildings, and also a covered and uncovered play court. As with any successful project, planning is key. Steven King, Project Superintendent, shared, “When you plan a job, you plan around the crane, and you look at your crane budget. The more things that you can get done while using the crane, the faster things Honouliuli Middle School Honouliuli Middle School’s Fresh Beginning will move.” Also, instead of working on one building at a time, the Nan team decided to tackle all the buildings at once. They hit the ground running by placing the crane in the center of where several of the buildings were going to be built, thus allowing them to swing the crane around to work on almost the whole project. “It’s a big circle that goes right around and everybody can see the next guy coming, so they get more motivated,” says King. This process reduced the need to mobilize and demobilize the crane for each building. Essentially, saving time and money for the project! 

This was all accomplished by a team of about 100 dedicated Nan, Inc. employees, who logged over 220,000-man hours with zero serious accidents. Innovation and hard work are essential to any project, and this team proved to be well-versed in those attributes. A good example would be the challenging task of placing the precast double tees on the cafeteria and the library to support the roofs. The double tee, or double-T beam, is a load bearing structure that resembles two T-beams connected to each other side by side. The T-beams on the cafeteria spanned about 75 By Lori Chong feet. Adding on to that fact, the crane could only have access from one side of the building because another building was simultaneously being built on the other side. As a result, the team put their heads together and determined the crane would reach the furthest point on the cafeteria from one side of the building. That endeavor definitely paid off, as it took the team only three days to accomplish a task that was originally projected to take 14 to 21 days. 

The end result of Nan, Inc.’s work reveals the school’s many distinctive features. One is that all the exterior concrete is exposed; none of the buildings’ exterior are painted. All facilities involved cast-in-place exposed architectural concrete finished walls of which special formwork considerations were required, along with precise placing and finishing of the concrete. That meant all of the concrete pours had to be aesthetically perfect. This was a first for the Nan, Inc. team and the team proved they were up to the challenge. “I think the guys did a great job,” says King.

Many of the crew live near the school, so it’s safe to say that they took an extra amount of pride in their work on the project. Project Engineer Sergi Beltrol said, “We have very dedicated people. This team has worked their butts off. The school will be here forever; it is built to last. And we were excited to be able to build this school for this community.” The design firm team of Ferraro Choi of Honolulu and Miller Hull of Seattle put a lot of thought and reasoning behind the project’s colors and design, tying the history of the area into the school. “Honouliuli was a very important nautical navigation point for the ancient Hawaiians,” according to Honouliuli principal Todd Fujimori. The chosen colors are reflective of the ocean and the earth, so there’s a central color theme of greens and blues for the ocean and calming neutral colors to represent the earth. “The design guys are super happy with the final product. It’s a good feeling. And now we’re eagerly waiting to find out if we’ll be building Phase 2,” says King.

Phase 2 will include the remaining two primary facilities, both three-story classroom buildings to be identical in physical design to the classroom already constructed by Nan, Inc. The contract bid in 2019, but still has yet to be awarded (at the time of this magazine’s printing). However, Phase 1 provides all the facilities needed for the planned August 2020 opening of the school. About 160-180 lucky and hopefully eager 6th graders are slated to begin the new school year there. As the inaugural class, this “lucky” bunch will have the run of the place as the school will only have 6th graders attending. Then in fall of 2021, 7th graders will join the campus, followed by 8th graders in the fall of 2022. Principal Fujimori is quite eager to share the campus with incoming students and their families; “I know the kids are going to be totally excited about the school.” He continued, “Last night we brought some of the staff in to walk through the campus to see what’s being built. 

Some of the teachers that came, literally shed tears when they saw the school. They felt so proud to be part of this.” And he had this to say about the quality of Nan, Inc. ‘s work: “On the construction side, it’s obvious that they’re not just here to build a building, they bought into what’s being done, they care. I just want to say thank you to everyone, for putting so much heart into their work.”

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Nan Inc is Expanding Pacific Footprint

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