Showing posts with label Lanikai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lanikai. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Latest on Lanikai

Lanikai Elementary School has a stage!

When last we spoke about the Lanikai Elementary School stage project (in this post), I was daydreaming about little kids performing the hula on that stage, under that beautiful banyan tree, a short walk away from the picturesque beaches of Lanikai and Kailua.

But, I needed to get my head out of the clouds. We had work to do! Kat managed to hook up with Shawn McKay. He's another parent at the school, a husband to one of the school's teachers, AND an actual contractor! With this video fly-through that Kat made of my sketchup model, and what I am sure was a kick-ass speech she gave at the fundraiser, the school got enough in donations to fund the project.

I'd given them the overall design of the stage, but the school couldn't start building until everything was approved by professional engineers. Enter our new friend Jon, the structural engineer, working pro-bono (on occasion) for the school system. He was immeasurably helpful. I gave Jon this layout plan:

and he turned that into engineered construction drawings:

I took Jon's construction drawings, which indicated but didn't show how the framing would work, and I made this plan to help visualize the framing. That's a lot of lumber!

And I made this model to indicate how the Trex decking should be laid out:

We had some fits and starts with scheduling the construction. We thought for a minute that we'd be able to do the work during the school's Spring break (back in April)- a slender window of time that would have allowed me to fly out to Hawaii to participate in the construction before flying back to NYC and then down to Barbados with Cindy, our friend Kendra, and the Castro's (Bernadette, Arsenio, and Axel) for our dear friends' the Spangler's wedding. But that didn't work out. There were a number of complications, not the least of which was the fact that Shawn-the-Contractor's wife was 9 months pregnant and due to give birth.

Then, one day during the Spangler wedding trip, this picture popped up on my Facebook feed. It documents the arrival of the first pile of lumber. I don't believe I've ever been so delighted by a pile of lumber in my life.

A few days later, Kat posted a time-lapse video of the initial framing of the stage. I was elated to see things coming together! But I'll save that video for later; it's now included in a time-lapse video of the entire build process.

In the meanwhile, here are a few still-shots of the stage framing. I understand that the construction was done both by Shawn McKay's construction team as well as parent volunteers.

I wonder if they bought the stair stringers pre-cut or if some poor soul had to cut them all out individually with a circular saw...

And here's the decking, staged to go on the stage. (You see what I did there? You like?)

And now for the complete construction in under 3 minutes (apologies for the abrupt ending of the music):

Here's Kat's rig for her GoPro camera. I'm thrilled she took the trouble to make that video, because not being able to participate and help really bothered me. Getting to watch the process (even after the fact) helped me not feel so terribly far away.

And here's the best part! Blessing the stage and the kids dancing the hula on it!!

And another best part: everyone uses the stage during recess. Some kids use it to sit and chat, some are dancing, some adults are supervising the kids, and a couple of girls had plunked themselves in the middle to color and draw. That's Kat in the pink dress on the left.

By the way, if I forgot to mention it earlier, I chose to wrap the stairs all the way around the stage this way so that the sides could be used as a small stage or lecture podium if any teachers wanted to bring their classes outside and stay in the shade.

The school is currently working on arrangements to make the hand rails and a safety railing that will go along the back of the stage where the wooden barricades (leftover from the May Day Celebration) are currently standing. I provided the school with 3 hand-drawn sketches when the rest of the drawings were submitted, and we chatted about it a bit today.  The project is down to punch-list items.  I'll post again when they get the railings and stuff up, but other than that, Lanikai Elementary has a stage, and we're all thrilled!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lanikai Update, March 2014

In my second blog post, Skinnier, I spoke about the design process we'd been undertaking for a stage to be built at Lanikai Elementary School in Hawaii.  My friend Kat is essentially producing the project, and a couple of weeks ago, they had a fundraiser for the stage.

Honestly, I'm blown away.  I guess this means they really liked my design, and they really need a stage.  They even publicized the fundraiser in the newspaper!  See the bit under "Gala"?

Do you ever have moments when you discover yourself in a wonderful situation that you never expected?  Every once in a while, I'll wake up in the morning, without a hint of how my day will go, and by the evening I'm on a flight to Berlin, or something equally unexpected.  Finding myself helping Kat get this stage done for their school is just one of those wonderful things that makes me feel happy to be alive.  It's not the same amount of awesome as being married to Cindy, but it's the same quality of awesome.

The school managed to raise around $25,000 for the project.  It's ON, people!

 And if that wasn't exciting enough, it's the school's 50th anniversary!  Just look at their cute graphic!

As for the stage itself, I made a dimensioned layout plan and had a meeting with our volunteer structural engineer by phone.  His team is going to do foundation and framing drawings, which will be submitted for permits to build.  With his plans in hand, I'll plot out some pockets for removable railings, pipe and drape system, and a little plan for how and where to set up lighting truss (as needed).  
At the moment, we're waiting to set the build dates, for which the school has generously offered to fly me (and Cindy, if she's available) out.

And if all that wasn't enough to put a girl over the moon, just have a look at the school's fundraiser appeal.  Honestly.  It's heartening to see a school putting appropriate value on the arts.  They've even started a full-year Hawaiian Studies program for those little kids.  

Lanikai Elementary School Fundraiser appeal:
Last year we initiated a Special Appeal giving program – the solicitation of direct donations to fund a school need that would not get done without the additional monetary support.  Last year, we funded the transition from a part year, May Day focused Hawaiian Studies Program, to a full year, more integrated program.   This year’s special appeal will seek support for an outdoor stage and assembly area – a place where the school can perform, celebrate and inform as a whole community.  Other auction funds are targeted from classroom improvement and educational technology.
“. . . the arts have been an inseparable part of the human journey; indeed, we depend on the arts to carry us toward the fullness of our humanity. We value them for themselves, and because we do, we believe knowing and practicing them is fundamental to the healthy development of our children’s minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization – ours included – the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term ‘education.’ We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and skills in the arts.” –National Standards for Arts Education
Parents and alumni know Lanikai School has a history of integrating visual and performing arts into the curriculum. This year monies raised through our Special Appeal will be used to build a stage, a facility Lanikai School has never had.  Presently we hold award ceremonies, assemblies, performances and May Day events on a grass field, sometimes renting a temporary stage. A permanent stage will save the school money and improve the quality of each event and performance.  The auction will also raise money for improvements to our classroom facilities and educational technology.  The only way we can attain these goals is with your help.
“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” –Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts

Can you imagine seeing the kids dancing the hula or playing in a band on that stage under the Banyan Tree?  I can.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Well, after a few days of pondering (agonizing) over how I should go about the business of describing Cindy's and my Project Happy Life thing, I've decided to drop it.  I'll write about things as they come up, and you'll get the idea.  To that end, I'll tell you a little bit about what I'm currently working on.

First: Lanikai
My friend Kat has asked me to help design a stage for her children's elementary school in Hawaii.  Coincidentally, she lives just a hop and a skip from where Cindy's mother was living before she moved into a nursing home.  And when we're out there for a visit, we always stay with our friend, Annie, just a short walk away from where the school happens to be.  It's also a short walk away from Kailua and Lanikai beaches - a couple of the most beautiful beaches in the world, if you're into that sort of thing.  

I've been toiling away on a handful of design ideas for their stage for the past couple of months, and yesterday, they chose the winner.  I call it the 40' dais design.  I made the model in Sketchup and geo-located it on a google map.  I had fun googling and employing a method for calculating the heights of the buildings and the tree by measuring their shadows and the shadow of a (hopefully regulation height) tennis net pole from the same map image/day.

I like the idea that the kids can drape themselves on the steps surrounding the stage during recess and such.  It's going to be constructed around this gorgeous banyan tree that towers over the school yard.

Anyway, we're going to have to chose a spot to add an ADA compliant ramp up to the stage, and I've got to get started sorting out where the removable railings will go and what our options for lighting positions might be.  I've also been doing LOTS of thinking about how best to construct this thing.  I was advocating for cement, since that would be low maintenance and simple to build.  But the school seems confident that they can handle the upkeep of the stage if it is done in wood, and it will have a nicer, more organic feel.

This hippie is all for organic.

So, we'll see what we can do.  I'm thinking of concrete footings with an aluminum framed structure built off of that, and then the whole thing could be "skinned" with wood, making the structure easier to keep nice in the face of termites, sea air, rain, and the constant drumming of little feet.  Or maybe the parent/contractors will have a better idea.

For a little Summer dreaming in these swirling, polar vortex days, here's a picture from the beach in Lanikai.