Nearly destroyed by an arsonist three-and-a-half years ago, a landmark building in North Kihei is due to reopen to the public by the end of August.
Located at the Kenolio Recreational Complex at 131 South Kihei Road, the 2,400-square-foot, two-classroom old Kenolio Library Building once also served as the fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms of the old Kihei Elementary School.
For many years now, it has been home to the Maui Bridge Club & Intellectual Games Center and various other organizations.
Nearly destroyed by fire over three years ago, the Kenolio Library Building will soon open to the public.
But ever since the fire on the night of Jan. 14, 2011, the severely damaged building has been blocked off to the public, its charred remains and boarded up windows visible behind an orange kapu (keep out) fence.
At the time, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said, "It is especially sad when someone, through carelessness or malice, intentionally takes something away from the community like this."
Now, as the result of two budget appropriations approved by the Maui County Council totaling $714,000, construction is underway to restore, repair, upgrade and reopen the structure.
"Work started on May 5 and is estimated to be completed by August 29," said Brianne Savage, deputy director of the Maui County Department of Parks & Recreation.
"The scope of the work is to repair the fire-damaged building to include the replacement of structural members, plumbing, electrical and roof," she said. "The contractor for the project is Maui Kupono Builders LLC."
The County Council approved two budget appropriations to fund the project--one in Fiscal Year 2013 for $400,000 and another in Fiscal Year 2014 for $314,000, according to Deputy Director Savage.
"A consultant was contracted [$90,392] to do the design of the repairs to include a structural assessment as well as a comprehensive hazardous materials survey of the building," she said.
"The sampling and analysis done as part of the hazardous material survey identified that the Kenolio Library Building contained several hazardous materials," she added. "As recommended, removal and special management of the hazardous materials was done prior to any demolition or repair."
"The department hired a licensed contractor [$24,856] to do this hazardous materials abatement," Savage explained. "Once this was completed, the repairs were publicly bid with the low construction bid of $451,704. The total amount allocated was $714,000. If there are any monies that are not expended, it will go back into the general fund if that is where the monies were allocated from."
A construction drawing shows the building will be significantly upgraded while continuing to blend in with the other three buildings at the Kenolio Recreational Complex. The other three are a 28-by-18-foot kitchenette (also used as an election-year polling place); the Kenolio Open Room, which is divided into four classrooms for dance and exercise classes; and the State Public Health Nurse and Ambulance Building.
"The department is really excited to have these repairs underway, and in the near future, to be able to provide another wonderful facility for the public's use, as there is a high demand for these facilities, especially in South Maui," said Savage.
"The building is primarily used by the Maui Bridge Club and a handful of other organizations when it is available," she added.
Mayor Alan Arakawa is looking forward to having the building up and running again, too.
"The mayor is as excited as anyone in the South Maui community to get these repairs completed," said Rod Antone, Maui County communications director. "As you know, he played bridge quite often at the facility."
Like other community centers on Maui, the facility will be available for use by the public. Fees and deposits will be determined by the type of user and type of activity.