Hale Hoaloha Gets Renovated, Upgraded


If you’re wondering about the new hustle and bustle around Hale Hoaloha, you’re not alone. Hale Hoaloha is the small building situated at the bottom of campus, behind the Silversword Cafe. Previously used as a dormitory, it has sat mostly unoccupied since before 2011, with the exception of a single classroom for nursing cohorts (students achieving the same degree) and an office for St. Louis School.

During the 2015-2016 school year, the building received new life with the securing of a $10 million Title III grant and an additional $100,000 in donations from various organizations such as the Atherton Family Foundation, the Matson Foundation and the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation. Renovated from the ground up, the building now has four new classrooms and holds the offices for the Criminal Justice department.

Jorge Santos
Here is an example of one of ten pods located in the new active learning classroom

One new classroom is an active learning classroom, a collaborative space with technology in mind. The room is outfitted with wireless and wired capabilities with room for improvements as new technology is introduced.

As Hale Hoaloha was being renovated, there was a need for an 80-90 person space to accommodate nursing cohorts and still be able to be used by other classes. A regular classroom was chosen but due to the large nursing cohort, other options needed to be considered. In came the active learning classroom, the brainchild of Kyle Johnson, the dean of Information Technology.

“In terms of size, there’s the nursing cohort class, but the reality is any faculty member who’s interested having students do group work in class or coordinating on things while in class can take advantage of this,” he said. “And we’re working with the faculty center to identify faculty now who might be interested in teaching in this space.”

Completed in December 2017, the classroom contains ten pods, which are tables that have 10-16 chairs, each containing a large monitor. In these tables are enough power outlets to keep everyone’s laptop or mobile devices charged for 3-hour classes. Each pod is connected to a central terminal, which is where the professor stands to teach and share documents from the terminal to the pods.

One of the many technological benefits of this room is that students are able to share documents and projects with other pods using their mobile devices in addition to being able to share with their professors. Because of this unique setup, students are almost never looking at the professor. To adapt to this, Johnson is working with the faculty center to discover new approaches to teaching.

“One of the challenges for many faculty is when you’re in the room, the faculty station is in the middle so, almost no students are looking at you,” he said. “They’re all facing other directions. So, we’re working with the faculty center to help faculty think about how they teach in a space where they may need to move around or not everybody will be looking at them.”

As Johnson stated, the active learning classroom is open to courses from all majors so, feel free to give it a visit in Hale Hoaloha 301.