Thurston P. E. Center

The Asa Thurston P. E. Center houses:
  • A multi-purpose gym space, primarily used for wrestling and gymnastics
  • Six racquetball courts and a loft gym with weight training equipment
  • One classroom space (Academy)
  • Showers and locker facilities for grades 5 – 12
  • The campus Health Center
  • Athletic and Physical Education Department offices
  • JROTC headquarters


Physically replacing the previous J. B. Castle building and Armstrong Hall, Thurston P. E. Center was completed in the summer of 1980, as part of the massive Physical Education and Athletics Complex renovation project.

Thurston “Twigg” Twigg-Smith ’38 and brother David pledged a generous gift to support construction, in memory of their great-great-grandfather Asa Thurston.

Asa Thurston
Born in Massachusetts in 1796, Asa Thurston worked as a scythe maker until he was 22 years old. He later graduated from Yale College in 1816 and Andover Theological Seminary in 1819. He was ordained with Hiram Bingham I, one of the founders of Punahou, and sailed with him as part of the First Company of missionaries.

In addition to building churches and schools and a considerable following, he was one of the first translators of the Bible into the Hawaiian language. One of the few extant copies of this Baibala Hemolele is part of the Punahou Hawaiian archive. Asa and Lucy Goodale Thurston had five children, one of whom, Thomas Gairdner (1856), attended Punahou. Subsequent generations were prominent in the development of Punahou and in the history of Hawaiʻi.

Editor’s Note: The historical text on this page, and elsewhere in our materials, is currently under review to present a more complete portrait of the individuals whose names appear on some of our buildings. The history of Punahou, like that of Hawai‘i itself, is complex, multi-faceted and, at times, difficult to reconcile with our present day values. Punahou today is deeply committed to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and to reckoning with our past as a way of fulfilling our present mission to enable all of our students, from every background and culture, to realize their full potential.  
We also believe that history is not written in stone, but that it is up to each generation to find new meaning and understanding in our collective past. We will not always agree on a single interpretation, but we also believe that a forthright discussion of the issues at hand is essential. With that spirit in mind, we invite you to read Ezra Levinson’s ’23 op-ed in the student newspaper, Ka Punahou: 
©2022 Punahou School. All Rights Reserved