The planned middle and high school for students on the North Shore is fundraising to buy an 11-acre campus.

A public charter school planned for Kauai’s North Shore is eyeing a new campus.

Namahana School leaders have mounted a $2.4 million fundraising effort to purchase an 11.3 acre parcel across from the post office in Kilauea. 

The property offers a location central to businesses and neighborhoods. Another perk is that the school would own its campus, making the approval and permitting process easier and opening greater access to financing for construction, according to Namahana Education Foundation Executive Director Melanie Parker. 

The school has secured financing for nearly half the cost of the land purchase. But it still needs to raise over $1 million in cash by June 9 in order to secure the property.

The school, which plans to open to seventh and eighth grade students as soon as the 2025-26 school year, won conditional approval to open from the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission last June. Namahana eventually expects to enroll 360 students in grades seven through twelve.

Namahana School leaders had long planned to build the school on 8 acres at Wai Koa Plantation in Kalihiwai donated through a 99-year renewable lease by philanthropist Joan Porter, widow of E-Trade founder Bill Porter. In 2020 the school hired Honolulu-based architects Group 70 to develop a conceptual campus design, which would need a small number of tweaks to fit the larger campus.

The Kalihiwai property remains available for the charter school as a contingency if the 11-acre purchase falls through. Porter, who is one of the school’s founding supporters, has endorsed the new plan, according to Namahana School leaders.

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