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Maui Prep celebrates completion of new Center for Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

By Staff | Dec 13, 2018

The center adds about 900 square feet of learning space to support students’ innovation and entrepreneurship.

NAPILI – As the sun rose over Pu’u Kukui last Wednesday, Dec. 5, students, teachers, parents and community members gathered to bless a revolutionary new classroom at Maui Preparatory Academy.

Hundreds of people basked in morning sunshine as student musicians played music and Kahu David Kapaku blessed the new learning space. The community celebrated with stunning floral arrangements, a bountiful offering of fruit and a ceremonial vine cutting.

Once blessed and opened, visitors and students filtered through the new space, which when finished will offer panoramic ocean views, an extended outside deck, open floor plan, white boards, a green screen, 3D printer, virtual reality glasses and much more.

On this day, its grand opening, the room was arranged into an exhibition space. Stories of the building were all on display, including poetry, essays, photographs, biographies, architectural renderings and a movie

Head of School Robert Landau explained the reason for these student projects.

“This building does not build itself, and we wanted to make sure that our students understood everything that goes into the creation of a building like this. So many of our students met the workers who came from all over the world to build this building, and interviewed them to get to know them. They also understood how buildings are built from the electricity to the plumbing to everything else,” he said.

Unlike every other building on the 22-acre hilltop campus in Napili, this center is specifically dedicated to student creativity.

“That room needs to be filled all day with students who are engaged in projects that are important to them, and that they’ve designed. They have to be in that room to experience things they can’t do in a traditional classroom,” he added.

Not only is this new classroom a game-changing addition to campus resources, it’s also a symbol of the evolution of Maui Prep’s learning culture.

“It’s a flip now in education,” said Landau. “It’s not about me teaching you. It’s about you being empowered to learn yourself. This building is for me a symbol of the future of Maui Prep. This room is just the start.”

It’s taken years of planning, fundraising, contracting, construction and permitting to make this newest classroom a reality. Key partners and drivers in the construction of the space include new Board of Trustees President Jim Bozich, new Head of School Landau, Danny Lujan and his team at Pacific Builders Maui, Development Director Jenny Worth and Board of Trustee Brian Graham.

A long list of students, administrators and teachers also contributed creative energy to the design, building and development of the space. Principal Ryan Kirkham and Director of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives Tara Burk have been, and will continue to be, central to supporting the student-driven development of this creative classroom.

Longtime Board Member Graham shared gratitude for everyone’s hard work to make this classroom a reality, while explaining the essential need for such a radical creation space.

“It’s a great day at Maui Prep. It’s an exciting time. The school has been on an amazing journey, but the journey has so much further to go. Starting from a great startup in West Maui, being a school that was needed for so many different reasons. We transformed, we continue to grow, we are becoming a school that is recognized not only in Hawaii but around the world as a great destination for education. That’s a lot to achieve in a very short period of time. It took a lot of work – hard work from a lot of people, a lot of families and a lot of students,” he said.

“I hope that this facility will continue to drive who we become even further along. Because when you think about being creative, that’s where the world really changes. You could be creating a song, a new company, a new engineering feat, something in robotics or technology. Through being creative is how we empower ourselves to be great leaders and how we change the world we live in. And it’s what makes us excited. This new facility will be the beginning of the next phase of Maui Prep.”

The expansion will continue in 2019, as the Pre-12 School breaks ground on its new Center for Athletics and Performing Arts in January.

Past Board of Trustees Chair Dean Otto chimed in, “We’ve always dreamed about a facility like this. I’m really excited for our future.”