McKinley High School

Founded in 1865 in the basement of church as the Fort Street English Day School, this public high school is one of the oldest in Hawaii. In 1907, it was renamed to President William McKinley High School, to memorialize the twenty-fifth U.S. President. In 1923, after three previous relocations, McKinley High School moved to its current location on South King Street.

Once on King Street, the architect Louis E. Davis was most involved in the campus’ layout and its Spanish Colonial Revival design. The original quadrangle was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It Is also listed on the Hawaii State Inventory of Historic Places. The project building, Senior Core Building, was part of the original quadrangle.  The building was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff in a joint venture with Louis E. Davis. The Hawaii Regional architectural style is a unique island-oriented interpretation of Spanish Colonial Revival. This local interpretation is most evident in the polychrome decorative terra-cotta elements shaped in the forms of local produce such as taro, breadfruit and gourds. Decorative cast stone panels are adorned with shark and lizard motifs.

Spectra restored the decorative historic glazed terra-cotta on the building’s exterior. Interestingly, the manufacturer and supplier of the new terra-cotta, Gladding McBean, also supplied the terra-cotta when the school was originally constructed over a century ago. In 2020, this project received the Historic Hawai’i Foundation Preservation Honor Award.

Scope of Work

Materials Restoration • Self-Perform • Terra-Cotta


Historic Hawai'i Foundation Preservation Award 2020

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