St. Philomena Early Learning Center (SPELC) is a private Catholic school located in Honolulu, Hawaii that instills Christian values through quality education. Ushijima Architects, Inc. (UAI) assisted SPELC with planning, design, and construction administration services to accommodate a growth in their enrollment, from 36 students when it originally opened its doors in 1978, to over 200 students.


As a result of the increased enrollment and a growing demand for additional facilities, the school proposed to build a new administration building, classroom building, covered drop-off area, and enclosed playground area. UAI was contracted in 2004 to provide planning services to modify the Existing Use Permit, and to ensure that the proposed development would still adhere to the zoning requirements set forth in the original permit. UAI worked collaboratively with SPELC and the City & County of Honolulu on the modification process, including verification of parking, sewer, and water adequacies and traffic mitigation and control measures. UAI successfully obtained the modification to the Existing Use Permit and proceeded into design.


Because of the stringent timeline, SPELC originally explored the idea of delivering the project through modular construction with UAI’s assistance. However, due to budgetary concerns and the desire for a more permanent facility, UAI recommended a design build approach with Shioi Construction. Using this approach, the design team and contractor were able to complete the project on time and within budget.