Founded in 1841 and renowned as one of the oldest educational institutions in Hawai’i from where President Barrack Obama graduated, Punahou School is a private, co-educational, college preparatory school home to over 3,700 students. Phase 1A of the project involved the construction of four, two-story studios for grades 4 and 5 and is home to 16 planned classrooms with lanais, moveable partitions to combine classrooms, and a shared break room. The master planning of Phase 1B was focused around the Julia Ing Learning Center to create an intimate community of buildings that maximizes the open and green spaces as an extension of the new classrooms.  

Conducting large-scale construction projects on an active school campus is a delicate process with careful planning needed to not disrupt the daily lives of faculty, staff and students and ensure safety is top of mind. In an effort to continue to deliver the highest level of service, the team reviewed Phase 1A and its related aspects to determine a list of items to modify or improve in  Phase 1B. Items identified resulted in significant cost savings and provided a higher-quality building in a shorter amount of time. 

Ensuring the students, faculty and staff of Punahou were not disrupted during the rainy months was a key focus. We implemented waterproofing as a preventative measure given the impact leaks can have on a school campus building. Research shows that while waterproofing accounts for only 1% of the building’s overall costs, damage from water leaks accounts for up to 80% of a building’s defects. We utilized an innovative Neptune waterproof product that cures within minutes versus the traditional bentonite product. Neptune was a preferred solution because of its quick curing and its environmental qualities; the waterproofing is water-based and contains no volatile organic compounds, a common source of air pollution.

The natural spring that runs through the heart of the campus inspires Punahou’s name and motivated construction of the campus to focus on green space. Designed as a LEED® Platinum facility, the school incorporates visible and interactive sustainable features, including Plexiglas floor troughs on the second-floor sidewalks and living walls in the stairwells, which both display rainwater. To create the ideal learning environment, the school’s studios incorporate natural lighting and ventilation as well as recycled materials from the prior school building. The multi-faceted landscape taps into the student’s natural sense of curiosity, discovery and play while grounding them in an intimate and nurturing environment.  

Teacher-inspired, student-centered and resource-driven, Punahou School is built to the highest standards and fosters an environment of creativity and collaboration.

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