KAPOLEI, Hawaii (KHON2) — A huge milestone for education in west Oahu was crossed on Saturday, April 1.
Hawaii’s newest public charter school will soon have a permanent location for a high school in Kapolei — ground was broken on Saturday at the new campus.
DreamHouse is a public charter school that is designed to empower home-grown leaders for Hawaii communities. They are already teaching 100 ninth graders at Kapolei Marketplace, but finding a permanent home was not easy.
“It’s very challenging to start a brand new charter school in the state of Hawaii. We are given minimal funds from the state of Hawaii and it’s nothing against anyone. It’s just the lay of the land and the educational ecosystem within our islands,” said DreamHouse founder Alex Treece.
Fundraising could only bring in so much, but DreamHouse obtained a Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility municipal bond with the help of the City and real estate developer Avalon Group.
Councilmember Andria Tupola said it is the perfect archetype for other charters.
“I think it has to be a model, because the TEFRA has never been used in other charter schools,” Tupola said. “It’s a tax-exempt municipal bond so that they can actually get their construction up is so key! Because really, when it comes down to it, is — it’s the dollars!”
“Many, many people stood alongside to make that happen,” Treece said. “So this moment right now to bring millions of dollars into this community, for our school, for our kids and families, I’m so happy and I’m so excited to see where this goes.”
“I am fully confident in the Avalon team with the folks that are doing the construction that we’ll have keys in hand next summer and be able to start our 2024-25 school year here at the DreamHouse Center,” Treece further stated.
The Center will be quite an upgrade for students.
“Yeah, I think about the future and soon I’m going to be in this big building,” said Kaden Hieger, a ninth grader at DreamHouse. “I think they look awesome, it’s big, which is definitely new since we’ve been in a shopping mall. But it’s good, yeah, I’m excited.”
Councilmember Tupola said the DreamHouse Center is exactly what is needed in an area that some call Oahu’s second city.
“So, what we want to say is that as the second city develops and more homes come that, we have educational options,” Tupola said, “and these educational options include the building of students to become future leaders. That’s what we need!”
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The $33 million project is expected to accommodate up to 400 high school students through 12th grade.