Senator Shimabukuro Organizing Efforts to Cool Leeward Oahu Schools


Senator Maile Shimabukuro Organizing Efforts to Cool Leeward Oahu Schools

Sen Shimabukuro 80AAs temperatures across the state hover in the high 80’s and low 90’s and humidity levels continue to soar, I am working with increased urgency to help the students in our district deal with sweltering classrooms. Overheated classrooms have been a problem I have struggled to help solve for many years, as the schools on the Leeward Coast typically face some of the hottest temperatures year round.

Heart wrenching stories like that of Waianae resident, Tiffanie Kaleiohi, have stepped up my efforts to help the schools:

“My two sons, one attends Leihoku and the other attends Waianae High, have been having more and more nose bleeds every week. I’m talking about couple times a day because of the heat,” said Kaleiohi. “My six year old cries that she’s so hot in class that she wants to stay home where it’s cool because our house has air conditioning. I pick them up and they’re all sweaty and flushed pink because of the heat. They fall asleep before we hit the bottom of Lualualei Homestead Road. My heart hurts every day that I have to take them to school because I can feel the heat. My son in high school also has eczema and it’s been acting up more during the summer. He breaks out in heat rash. I sure hope we can get our children’s schools some A/C units because my kids say the fans only blow hot air.”

Tiffanie posted her story on the Westside Town Hall Facebook Group Page, and Rep. Andria Tupola referred her to contact me. Stories like Tiffanie’s are unacceptable. As a mother myself, I understand the frustration parents in my district are feeling over having to send their children to school and expecting them to learn in conditions that most adults would not be able to handle. As a Legislator, I know we have to do more to help the schools expedite the upgrading of their electrical systems to install air conditioning units in the classrooms.

However, my immediate efforts are aimed at doing what I can right now to help our keiki.

My office has been in contact with our school principals and has put together a list (see page 3) of the number of classrooms on each campus that need air conditioning units or fans. With the exception of NHIS and Waianae HS, all other District 21 schools either have or are in the process of getting sufficient electrical upgrades to enable installation of aircon.

With the bulk of the portable air conditioning units which the Department of Education (DOE) is purchasing going to schools in the Ewa district on Oahu and other schools across the state, I am coordinating the donations of air conditioning units in addition to fans to help cool the classrooms in the schools in District 21.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has stepped forward to help with the installation of the AC units and wall-mounted fans by allowing volunteer union members to work during community work days or weekends set up by the schools.

I am also seeking partnerships with businesses, foundations, and charitable organizations to help gather volunteers to assist with manpower and funding for the necessary electrical upgrades to allow the schools to install these air conditioning units, and to explore alternative heat abatement solutions for the schools.

I am happy to share that after my office contacted PVT Land Co. a few weeks ago to ask if they would join me in this effort, PVT recently called me to commit a $10,000 donation towards heat abatement efforts for Leeward Coast schools. Our principals were consulted by the Waianae ASA Complex office, and the principals’ consensus was that the funds should go to Leihoku Elementary School and Nanakuli Elementary School. LES and NES will each select a classroom on their campuses for a new split a/c unit, as this type of unit is the most energy efficient option.

There are also a number of community-driven efforts working towards cooling our schools, including a generous donation of fans to Ka Waihona o ka Na`auao Charter School, Makaha El, and Leihoku El by Elsie Foster of Foster Realty.

 We hear that several alumni and community groups are working to donate fans as well!

For those who wish to help in any way, contact me at (808) 586-7793 or (808) 349-3075.

In 2004 when I was in the State House, I organized a fan drive to help cool the classrooms in Waianae/Makaha.  I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community when the need was presented a decade ago, and I’m hoping to see the same type of response this time around while we work on a long-term solution to help find relief for our students.


If you would like to help or donate to a particular school’s heat abatement efforts, it is best to call the school directly so they can share their specific needs.
In many cases, aircon wall units and wall-mounted fans are preferred as they provide the most efficient and safest means of cooling classrooms.

Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, Darin Pilialoha, Principal
100 classrooms   (808) 668-5823

Nanakuli Elementary School, Lisa Ann Higa, Principal
37 classrooms   (808) 668-5813

Waianae High School, Disa Hauge, Principal
70 classrooms   (808) 697-9400

Waianae Intermediate School, Raechelle Fabrao, Principal
42 classrooms   (808) 697-7121

Leihoku Elementary School, Randall Miura, Principal
53 classrooms   (808) 697-7100

Makaha Elementary School, Nelson Shigeta, Principal
42 classrooms    (808) 695-7900

Kamaile Academy, Ann Winslow, Principal
50 classrooms
(808) 697-7110

Waianae Elementary School, Wendy Takahashi, Principal
School has AC, however 5 units  recently broke down and the school is trying to raise funds to purchase replacements   (808) 697-7083


Nanaikapono Elementary School and Maili Elementary School are air-conditioned schools.

NHIS and Waianae HS are in the Planning & Design phase, preparing for an electrical upgrade.

All other Leeward Coast DOE schools are in different parts of the construction phase of their electrical upgrades.

While the primary purpose of these upgrades are for technology, the upgrades will give the schools the prerequisites needed to install air-conditioning units in a number of classrooms.

The numbers given above are classrooms with out air-conditioning. These classrooms do have ceiling fans, but in most/all cases, the ceiling fans do not sufficiently cool the room or provide heat abatement. Wall-mount fans or certain types of a/c units would help the efficiency of the ceiling fans.

For more on Senator Shimabukuro’s efforts to cool Wai’anae Coast classrooms, click here.