Farrington officials tour auditorium before renovations begin

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Mar 20 2014 02:29:30 PM HST
Updated On: Mar 20 2014 07:51:24 PM HST

Plans to proceed with bidding, demolition, and renovation are underway for the Farrington High School auditorium. The auditorium roof collapsed in November 2012.

HONOLULU -

It's been more than a year since the auditorium roof at Farrington High School collapsed.  On Thursday, for the first time since the collapse, many took a tour back in time and a big step into the future.

"It was very eerie coming in here on that night and just seeing all that metal and roof over the seats.  Just, oh bad," said Farrington Vice Principal Ron Okamura.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's report.

Sixteen months later, Farrington Principal Al Carganilla and Okamura are getting a second look at their collapsed auditorium, partnered with a new hope.

"Today, we begin the process to get something that the whole community is happy to get back," said Carganilla.

In November 2012, only an hour before this auditorium would be filled for a poetry jam, heavy rain brought down the roof.  One volunteer inside barely escaped tragedy.

Months later, investigators determined determined an overweighted center truss ultimately caused the collapse.

"When our structural engineers looked at it, they determined that the design was inadequate from the get-go, and the surprising thing for us was that it stood up for 50 years!" said Department of Education Public Works Administrator Duane Kashiwai.

So, obviously, major renovation needs to happen, including ripping out all the seats that were put in a few months before the roof collapse.  But, the folks at Farrington have decided they want to save the last two rows in memory of what happened.

Kashiwai says the building's shell is still good, despite being exposed to the elements.  The guts will come out, and with a 50-year-old building , there's much to upgrade -- from the electrical system to the air conditioning.

The back rooms are now caked with dust and debris.  They will become offices, classrooms and a media tech center.  And new seating will match the historic makeup of the old ones.

"It should be quite a grand opening," said Kashiwai.

Potential bidders had their first walk-through too.  The DOE is allotting $12 million for the project so far.

Bids open in April.  Demolition is planned for October with a goal of getting it done by July of next year.

"This place was very special for us," said Okamura.  "We're just waiting for everything to come together."

Farrington High School is already in the middle of major renovations.  One wing was redone two years ago.  Now, it's the auditorium's turn and the DOE has allotted $6 million to renovate the school's athletic field.

PHOTOS: March 2014 photos at Farrington auditorium

Click here to see more pictures of the auditorium.

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