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Kīhei high school set to open in 2023 officially named Kūlanihākoʻi

kihei  Kūlanihākoʻi High School Dept. of Education
Hawaiʻi Department of Education
Artistʻs rendering of the future library and cafeteria building currently under construction at Kūlanihākoʻi High School in Kīhei on Maui.

An upcoming high school in South Maui has a new official name. On Thursday, the Board of Education approved Kūlanihākoʻi as the name of the new Kīhei school.

The name is a result of extensive community engagement and discussions by school principal Halle Maxwell and complex area superintendent Jamie Yap.

The site of the new school is situated between two gulches – Waipuʻilani and Kūlanihākoʻi. The gulch the school gets its name from is known as a mythical pond or lake in the sky. When it overflows, it comes to earth as rain.

“The official naming of our campus is a long-awaited decision that will give our school community a unified identity and our students a proud shared history throughout their lives,” Maxwell said. “We want to thank our dedicated naming hui volunteers and our community members for bringing their unique perspectives and collective expertise together to honor Hawaiian culture and the rich history of this land.”

Kūlanihākoʻi ninth graders are starting the school year at a temporary site at Lokelani Intermediate School — until the next phase of construction is completed at the end of 2022.

The Department of Education plans to relocate to the new campus over winter break to launch the spring semester in January 2023. The school will add one grade level each school year through 12th grade. At full capacity, the campus is designed for 1,600 students.

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