Sammy Hagar has sold his 14-acre property in Ukumehame to Montessori Hale O Keiki, where a new campus for the school will be built. In addition, the Red Rocker donated $250,000 to the school and pledged continued support for the Montessori school.
“[Hagar] had a vision for this property of his own, with agriculture and sustainability,” said MHOK Head of School Jessica Thompson. “I think when we told him we were interested and we told him what our school does and what the focus of our school is, both in Montessori and in environmental stewardship, he got really excited, and immediately offered us a chance at our dream. He committed to a donation of $250,000 this year and continued support in the future.”
MHOK launched in 1991 with a leased space from Trinity-by-the-Sea church. The school started with one building for its primary classroom and another building shared by its lower and upper elementary. School officials had been looking for more usable space for its students, pursuing nine different properties over the years.
In 2014, they learned about the 14 acre property off Honoapi`ilani Highway between Kihei and Lahaina. At the time, they had no idea the property was owned by musician and entrepreneur Hagar and his wife Kari.
The property has majestic mountain views, and it includes a two-story, 1550-square-foot bamboo house, which will likely be used to house the school’s administration. The property also includes fenced areas for animals and irrigation for gardens.
MHOK purchased the property for $1.49 million. The school’s realtor and board member Dave Richardson and his firm Hawaii Life donated the $38,000 in commission and closing costs back to the school.
“The Ukumehame property is really special,” said Hagar, adding that he and his family camped on the land before building the bamboo house, to see what it felt like out there. “I think it’d be a great place for children to be able to have animals on the property, to have gardens to grow vegetables and fruit and things like that, which I think are very important in the world today, to learn how to be self-sufficient without having to go to a grocery store if you don’t have to. Walk across the street and catch your own fish, grow your own food.”
The Hagar’s $250,000 donation was put into action right away, for planning, permitting and design costs associated with building a school structure, which will have an initial capacity of around 96 students, kindergarten through 8th grade. The future building will be situated near the existing bamboo home, which will likely house administrative offices, gathering spaces and resource classrooms for art and music.
A new classroom structure will house four main classrooms, for Primary (ages 3-6), Lower Elementary (1st-3rd grade), Upper Elementary (4th-6th grade) and Middle School (7th & 8th grade). The classrooms will be 900 to 1,200 square feet in size. There are also plans for a multi-purpose room and commercial kitchen. An outdoor stone pizza oven is already built in the yard.
MHOK will maintain a presence in Kihei, as it has been for the last 25 years. Once the Ukumehame campus is operational, the current site on Kulanihakoi Street in North Kihei will transform into an early childhood center. Plans include a second Primary classroom; MHOK recently received a $15,000 grant from the Castle Foundation to support new materials for that addition. In Kihei, there would also be a Toddler Program for eight to 12 students, ages 18 months to three years.
Photo courtesy of Montessori Hale O Keiki