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When lava flow in Hawaii threatens a public school district, officials turn to modular

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When lava flow in Hawaii threatens a public school district, officials turn to modular


Williams Scotsman | February 17, 2015
When lava flow in Hawaii threatens a public school district, officials turn to modular

In November, the Keonepoko Elementary School at Keaau opened its doors to 430 students in grades kindergarten through fifth-grade, providing educational facilities for a community displaced by a natural disaster.

Acting quickly in the wake of a natural disaster is important to help a community return to normalcy. When lava flow impacted schools in Pahoa, Hawaii, the Department of Education (DOE) needed a plan of action to provide space for students, faculty and staff.

The DOE contacted Hawaii Modular Space, a Williams Scotsman company, to devise a solution for temporary classroom space for the elementary students and staff in the Pahoa and Keeau schools that would become displaced due to the ongoing lava flow in Pahoa.

Working in partnership with the DOE, Hawaii Modular Space provided 20 classrooms, an administrative and a library building to ensure students, faculty and staff could get back to learning. In order for the relocated school to open its doors, Hawaii Modular Space had to ship 19 modular floors over 200 miles of ocean to a remote location on the Big Island of Hawaii, modify the units from office layouts to classrooms, purchase additional used floors, relocate customer-owned floors, and complete all the site work quickly. This work included ensuring all of the utilities were functional.  The company also worked in record time to install stairways and ramps, decking, security systems and fencing around the school complex.

In November, the Keonepoko Elementary School at Keaau opened its doors to 430 students in grades kindergarten through fifth-grade. Providing educational facilities for a community displaced by a natural disaster is a source of stability. The utility and expedience of modular solutions allowed Hawaii Modular Space to fulfill the local community’s emergency needs quickly and efficiently.  The work took only six weeks to complete from start to finish. 

Regardless of the specific circumstances for considering modular space, its role is critical for keeping businesses and schools open. Units are built in climate-controlled factories by experienced tradespeople using top-quality materials. Each unit has its own HVAC system, which can adjust to changing temperatures, making for a comfortable classroom. The floor plan can also be configured to meet unique needs, ranging from one mobile classroom to multiple units, as seen with the Keonepoko project. What is most important to many communities is the speed at which modular buildings can be configured and put into use. When crisis strikes, mobile units can be ordered and installed quickly, taking the burden off of a community working to rebuild.

We are proud of the collective efforts of the DOE and Hawaii Modular Space.  We are delighted to report that the DOE recently presented our partners in Hawaii with an award of commendation for their excellent work on this school.

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