Campus and Learning Environments

Few schools can claim a sense of place as strong as Punahou's. Sheltered by Manoa Valley and nourished by the waters of Ka Punahou, the lands of the New Spring have nurtured and sustained children and adults for nearly two centuries. While the campus continues to evolve, it sustains a timeless connection to Hawai'i and its own history. Today, we are preparing for the future with thoughtful campus planning that enhances the landscape of learning that is so central to the Punahou experience. 

The key to engagement, many educators are discovering, is meeting children where their own curiosity becomes a powerful incentive for learning. This inquiry-based approach channels children’s natural inquisitiveness into meaningful growth experiences. Ideas like these demand a reexamination of learning environments in order to be thoroughly explored. 

Highly flexible spaces support faculty and students as they explore larger and smaller group settings, mixed age levels and activities that include a significant dose of hands-on, experiential learning. This also includes a rich array of outdoor environments that range from open lawns to exploratory spaces to areas that deliberately incorporate opportunities for Hawaiian studies, outdoor education and sustainability education.

Through a methodology for innovation called design thinking, students navigate open-ended challenges and come up with creative solutions to global problems. The process sharpens students’ intellectual and social skills as they work together on hands-on projects that make a difference in the world. Spaces like design studios, or makeries, and the future K – 12 Learning Commons provide students with resources (technological, creative and human) that will help them to transform their questions into work that addresses these real problems and audiences.

The campus covers 76 acres at the edge of Manoa Valley in Honolulu, and includes over 50 educational and administrative buildings featuring:

  • Distinct areas for K – 1, 2 – 5, 6 – 8 and 9 – 12 learners, as well as K – 12 multi-use facilities.
  • Outdoor learning and play spaces, featuring traditional and hydroponic gardens, native Hawaiian foliage, an apiary, ‘auwai (bioswales), Rocky Hill and the Lily Pond – teaming with aquatic life and nourished by Ka Punahou.
  • Visual and performing arts spaces including a 640-seat theatre with orchestra pit, a three-studio dance pavilion, a glassblowing and ceramics center, a music hall with private studios and recital hall, and an art gallery.
  • Athletics and PE facilities including three multi-purpose fields, two gymnasiums and several PE studios, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, eight tennis courts, six racquetball courts, and a weight room.