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Waimea Middle School thanks governor for releasing funds

When Gov. Neil Abercrombie visited Waimea on April 29 at around 5 p.m., a group of about 30 Waimea Middle School teachers, administrators, parents, students and community members waited outside in the rain after school to meet him.

They were there to thank him in person for releasing the $5 million allotted by the Legislature in 2013 for the construction and equipment for a nine-classroom Science-Technology Building at Waimea Middle School.

They were also celebrating the authorization of $9.89 million by the Legislature earlier that day for the 21st century STEM education classrooms.

Abercrombie said he didn’t plan for it, but the timing worked out well. He acknowledged that the community had been working on the building project for more than 10 years.

“I look forward to being invited to the groundbreaking,” he said.

There are more than 285 sixth through eighth graders at Waimea Middle School. The school has been working with the Department of Education on the science-technology building since 2003. The Legislature authorized $1 million for planning, design, and engineering in 2007, which is separate from the $5 million CIP funding for the project secured by Sen. Malama Solomon and Rep. Cindy Evans in 2013.

The $9.89M appropriation allotted on April 29 would be combined with $5 million in Capital Improvement Project funds authorized by the 2013 Legislature to construct the building.

“I have every confidence we can move forward and do it in an expeditious way,” Abercrombie said to the Waimea Middle School group.

After the announcement of the release of the $9.89 million, Sen. Malama Solomon said she was happy to be a part of the appropriation.

“I am very strong believer in science and technology,” said Sen. Malama Solomon in a phone interview with North Hawaii News following the funding announcement. “This building is long awaited and will be a big plus to the Waimea Middle Charter School. … It is well deserved and well needed, and I expect great things.”