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Punahou School 2-5 Kosasa Neighborhood


The project was designed and built to serve Punahou grades 2 to 5 and ncludes a new K-8 Learning Commons and Visual & Performing Arts Building, 28 new studio/classrooms, outdoor learning spaces, covered walkways, additional fire lanes, and a new covered drop-off/pick up area. In addition, new Junior School Administrative offices, conference rooms, Makery spaces, a Technology/Media Center and Multi-Purpose covered pavilion will be built.


While the prime AE/Architects Design Partners and landscape architects PBR did masterful work on designing the buildings and outdoor environments, it took the creative, experienced team of engineers at Sam O. Hirota, Inc. to realize the vision and make all the different design elements perform to high standards of sustainability and safety and lead to the fulfillment of Punahou’s educational promise.


SOH prepared a site-grading plan showing building finish floor elevations and site finish grades; grading work related to accessibility requirements for walkway and parking access; adequate drainage for the site and assistance to the client in obtaining approvals from the City and County of Honolulu.  The firm prepared a site utility plan, including proposed water, sewer, and drainage and fire systems layout. Included were profiles for the various utility lines.  


In terms of practical applications for the sustainable harvesting of rainwater, SOH was responsible for:


  • calculations considering 10-year storm events,

  • gabion wall filtration systems placement, necessary grading, structural elements

  • installation of various-sized boulders within the auwai to dissipate the energy of rushing water, preventing erosion and allowing water to serve as an educational tool for teachers and students

  • design and engineer drainage to take care of any water that might exceed the 10-year storm event through existing inlets

  • all grading, structure and water flow engineering related to the agricultural terraces or lo’i, the Ka’aumoana Halau and pumps that circulate water from the Ka Punahou spring

  • individual classroom cisterns that collect rain water and distribute it to backyard gardens and 4,000 square foot community garden

  • assist DP to obtain LEED and Hawai‘i CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools) certifications

SOH also provided extensive 3D documentation of the former grades 2-5 classroom buildings known as the Winne Units. Please see our 3D Documentation page for details.

Services included:

LEED Consultation

SOH was awarded an ACECH Engineering Excellence Award in 2020 for its efforts at sustainable and culturally sensitive engineering for the Punahou 2-5 project. 

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