New fans cool down the sweltering Jimmie H. Greig Gym
LAHAINA — They call the Lahainaluna High School Athletic Field “The Imu” for one obvious reason — it’s as hot as a Dutch oven down there.
A little ways up the hill of the historic West Side campus, the Jimmie H. Greig Gymnasium could be nicknamed “The Sauna” for the similarly distinct climate the Luna student athletes and their followers have endured throughout the years.
The big difference has been that the enclosed gym — where the Lahainaluna basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams practice, and where student assemblies are held — did not get the breezy respite from the merciless Lahaina heat like those using the Imu.
But thanks to the efforts of a couple of dedicated administrators and a gracious Maui volunteer, the Sauna will now be a cool comfort zone for the Luna hoopsters, spikers, grapplers and their fans.
Lahainaluna Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch had visited the Damien High School Gym in Honolulu during recent years. While there, he noticed the practical effectiveness of the state-of-the-art fans that move the air throughout the facility.
Coach Scott kept the idea in mind and brought it back to his home campus to generate momentum.
He presented a plan for the cooling system for the Jimmie H. Greig Gymnasium to then-Principal Michael Nakano last summer.
Principal Nakano, in yet again one of his behind-the-scenes accruements for his beloved campus, added to the fan order for Lahainaluna’s new cafeteria now in midstream progress adjacent to the old facility.
The additional set was budgeted within the Department of Education (DOE) facilities fund through Mr. Nakano’s care following the prompting of Soldwisch.
The gym fans arrived in August, but A.D. Soldwisch was faced with a big hurdle — how to get them installed.
“I had tried to get things moving to have the installation done but just ran into delay after delay,” said Soldwisch last week.
“But then, as so often happens here in this community, someone stepped up to help out.”
It just so happened that Steve Sturdevant of Sturdevant Air Conditioning and Sheet Metal Works attended a volleyball match his daughter was playing in at the Lahainaluna gym and noticed the extreme heat the participants and fans endured there.
“Steve was outside the gym trying to cool off, and we got to talking about the fans that were sitting there in boxes in the hallway of the gym,” explained Soldwisch.
“Before you knew it, he volunteered to install the fans for free.”
In late October, Sturdevant — whose wife, Deborah, taught at Lahainaluna in the ’80s — and his crew set to the task of installing the cumbersome units that have a blade diameter of 24 feet.
Service Rentals donated a lift to rise the fans up to the ceiling of the gym, and the Sturdevant crew completed the professional installation of the cooling system.
For Soldwisch, the effort is yet another example of the generosity and compassion of so many to enrich the Lahainaluna experience.
“It’s really amazing how this always happens this way at Lahainaluna. People in the community hear of a need, and then someone steps up to get the job done,” he said.
The library, the locker room, the stadium and now this — it’s beautiful, isn’t it? Malama pono, indeed.