The Legacy of a princess

Kamehameha Schools was founded by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great.

Kamehameha Schools moves forward with removal of former Keauhou Beach Hotel

Honolulu - (May 5, 2017) – Kamehameha Schools held a blessing this week to mark the start of the process to remove the old Keauhou Beach Hotel at Kahalu‘u Ma Kai.

The blessing ceremony signaled the beginning of interior alteration construction or “soft demolition” of the interior. The work entails first removing all wood, plaster, glass, drywall and other interior materials, leaving only the building’s exterior walls and structural framework. The windows and exterior openings will be sealed, and the interiors will be removed floor by floor.  Debris will be deposited in an enclosed chute directly discharging into construction trash bins to protect the surrounding environment.

Kiewit Building Group is the general contractor.

“With this major step forward, Kamehameha Schools is making significant progress toward transforming Kahalu‘u Ma Kai into an innovative, 21st-century educational complex that will serve as the piko (hub) for Native Hawaiian ʻāina-based,  science, technology, engineering, arts & math education in West Hawai‘i,” said Kaimana Barcarse, West Hawai‘i Regional Director.  “While the walls of this hotel are filled with cherished and warm memories of days gone by for many people, this project will create an environment to reinvigorate the ‘āina as the foundation for a thriving lāhui. We look forward to creating new memories here.”

Along with receiving a permit for the interior alteration, Kamehameha Schools has hit several major milestones in reaching this stage of the project including:

  • The County of Hawai‘i Planning Department approving the project’s final environmental assessment and issuing a finding of no significant impact (FEA-FONSI) for the project. 
  • The Hawai‘i County Leeward Planning Commission approving a Special Management Area Use Permit (SMA) application with conditions.
  • Approval by the County of Hawai‘i of the project’s interim public access plan, which governs shoreline access during construction.
  • Submitting to the County of Hawai‘i a Comprehensive Public Access Plan which covers shoreline access post construction. 
  • Submitting to the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) for review and approval the project’s Archaeological Preservation Plan, Archaeological Monitoring Plan and Burial Treatment. On Feb. 8, 2017, SHPD accepted the Burial Treatment Plan.

Construction to remove the hotel is awaiting review and approval of the Archaeological Preservation Plan and Archaeological Monitoring Plan by SHPD, which along with the Burial Treatment Plan are required to submit an application to Hawai‘i County for a demolition permit.

“We appreciate SHPD accepting the Burial Treatment Plan and we look forward to the agency completing the review and approval of the Archaeological Preservation Plan and Archaeological Monitoring Plan soon so we may continue with the progress we have made so far,” Barcarse said.

Cultural practitioners blessed the ‘āina and the people who will be working on the project. The ceremony also brought together the area’s kūpuna and lineal descendants, who shared stories of growing up in Kahalu‘u Ma Kai and who spoke fondly about what life was like before the hotel was built.

“With the hotel coming down, this will be good for the education of our children and the future of our families,” said Uncle Mitchell Fujisaka.

“Known historically as an intellectual training ground for Hawai‘i’s leaders, Kahalu‘u Ma Kai supports our desire to bring together Ke Ali‘i Pauahi’s land legacy and assets in West Hawai‘i, our educational mission and the community,” Barcarse said.