Students can give input on future of Wailele spring design

Tia Shimabukuro, Staff Writer

Students passing by Wailele spring today could see a muddy pond filled with dirty water surrounded by a broken fence. What they could see if a campus plan is approved is a peaceful area flourishing with greenery, park benches and thriving wildlife.

By the end of the school year, campus officials should have agreed on plans to improve Wailele spring, which is the fenced off area next to the football field.  Director of Campus Planning and Renewal, Sandy Hamura, is starting to gather input from students, faculty, and staff members about the project. 

“I picture it as a collaboration of a lot of different ideas from our various groups and  their ideas of having a lo’i or wetland, a possible waterfall, and native species,” said Hamura. 

The changes made to Wailele, as the heart of the campus, will be the nexus from which the campus springs, according to the campus master facilities plan. 

“The Wailele Spring, closed off and overlooked in its current state, will be restored to a more beautiful and natural state,” according to the document.

Makana Kāne Kuahiwinui, the Hawaiian Language teacher said she hopes the improvements made to Wailele will restore the integrity of the very sacred site.

“From hearing the story of Wailele, I’ve had this picture of it in my head according to these old and traditional stories and when I meet Wailele for the first time, it’s quite sad,” said Kuahiwinui.

Hamura said when the spring is finished, she pictures it being a collaboration of various ideas put together with some compromises; it will be everybody’s shared vision. 

“What we’re hoping to do is get a concept plan agreed upon by the end of the school year, so we can start moving forward with with both fundraising and permitting,” said Hamura.

Kuahiwinui said she visits Wailele Spring when she feels either overwhelmed or stressed.

“Wailele to me is a place where I can ground myself in any given day and in any given circumstance,” said Kuahiwinui.

Hamura said her and the school hasn’t started contacting any architects, but right now they are in the concept design phase. 

“What we do is we go around and ask advisory and focus groups the questions of: What do you want the spring to teach us? What do you want it to feel like? What things should we keep? What things should we change?” said Hamura. 

Hamura said the area is underutilized and under appreciated, but she thinks there’s a lot of potential for academic learning.

“From elementary schools learning the water cycle, and also to even learning the stories behind the spring, there’s a lot of growth in addition to forming an education of giving back to the stewardship all the way up to the high school level,” said Hamura 

Kuawahiwinui said she is unsure when it comes to change, but she hopes that the improvements made to wailele will restore the integrity of the very sacred site.

I’ve been advocating for a Wailele reclamation since the first day I’ve arrived here at Mid-Pacific,” said Kuahiwinui. 

To add your suggestions about a new Wailele Spring, visit the QR code