homepage logo

Donation launches sign project at King Kamehameha III School

By Staff | Dec 9, 2010

From left, Tom Scott, Nicole McCombs, Steve Franz and Ken Bretana stand by the new sign at King Kamehameha III Elementary School.

LAHAINA — It was an “ordeal” that took a year to complete and a lot of hard work.

This surprisingly complicated job was a project to install a new sign in front of King Kamehameha III Elementary School.

Principal Steve Franz explained that the idea to build a sign for the school along Front Street originated about six or seven years ago under former Principal Lindsay Ball.

“We wanted the sign for two reasons. First, to clearly identify ourselves as a school for the many visitors that pass our doors,” Franz explained.

“Second, we wanted to be able to communicate upcoming events and activities to our parents and our community. We have already received feedback that it is meeting both of these needs.”

About a year ago, third grade teacher Nicole McCombs approached Franz about honoring the wishes of her late grandparents, who wanted to donate money to a worthy cause.

She asked how this money could be used to benefit the school, and the sign project began.

“There were no real volunteers on this project, except for the McCombs family that volunteered their donation that kick-started everything,” Franz noted.

The school’s location in the Lahaina Historic District and county Special Management Area made the project complicated.

With help from Small Town Planner Erin Wade in the Maui County Planning Department, the permitting process went smoothly.

Next, Franz had to testify before the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission a few times to get that panel’s approval.

“It was a feat balancing the requirements of the historical codes,” noted Claire Tillman, the school’s Parent Community Networking Center facilitator.

“It seems like such a simple sign on a little campus in West Maui, but the process was long and rigorous.”

With the help of the project’s contractor, Tom Scott, and West Maui Sign owner Ken Bretana, plans were drawn up to build the sign.

Administrative Services Assistant Bruce Moore made sure small details were not overlooked, such as finding an archeologist to assist when the digging took place for the sign to be erected.

“It is hard to estimate the total amount of work that went into this project, because it took so much time to complete. I think it was the time delays that made the project seem so laborious,” Franz said.

“From an idea, to meeting with county officials, to finding a sign builder, to gaining approval from the Cultural Resources Commission, to coordinating manufacturing, shipping and installation, it just took a lot of work to get over all the hurdles to do it right. But it was all worth it.”

A $10,000 project, the sign is now used to announce upcoming events and important dates.

Franz thinks past and present students will like it.

“The sign is beautiful and identifies who we are to all who pass by. It also provides a sense of place for the generations of students that have attended this school over the past 100 years,” he said.

“It has been a long process, but the project turned out so well that it has been worth the wait.”