KAMUELA – The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation awarded Parker School a $1 million grant, the largest gift in the school’s 43-year history and the foundation’s largest donation on Hawaii Island.
The funds will be used to build a gymnasium for the school’s 320 students in kindergarten through grade 12.
“We are very grateful for the generosity of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation,” said Carl Sturges, Parker School headmaster in a press release issued last week. “In recognition of this gift, and of the extraordinary philanthropic legacy of Mr. Ching, we will be naming the building The Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium.”
In 2008, Parker School’s Board of Directors adopted an ambitious master plan calling for staged facilities expansion. In 2015, the board approved the design and construction of a cluster of buildings and courtyards within its 23-acre campus to be known as the Center for Sports, Science, and the Arts.
In addition to a 10,800-square foot gymnasium with locker rooms and athletic personnel offices, the $12 million project will include a 3,600 square foot technology center (three divisible rooms featuring a robotics lab, makerspace and design lab), a 1,600-square-foot dance studio, a 1,200-square-foot fitness center, a commercial kitchen, and multiple outdoor learning spaces.
“This exciting and historic step is essential to continue to meet the needs of our talented and well-rounded students. We are honored to have the support of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation to help make this dream a reality,” Sturges said.
After visiting Parker School earlier this year, the trustees noted that the school did a lot for students needing financial aid with limited resources, trustee Bob Fujioka said.
“We are excited to be part of this new facility and the future of this school,” he added.
Parker School, located in Waimea, currently does not have an indoor gym or a space large enough to gather the entire student body, leaving students, sports teams, and school traditions at the mercy of Waimea’s often windy and rainy weather. For the first time in Parker School’s history, the campus will have an all-school gathering place for graduations, May Day celebrations, pep rallies, sporting events, robotics competitions, and the ever-popular summer programs.
A developer and philanthropist, the late Clarence T.C. Ching established The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation in 1967 to support public and private educational institutions in Hawaii, as well as health and social services organizations. Born and raised in Hawaii, Ching was a visionary who came from a modest upbringing and was known for his determination and work ethic. Ching’s story resonates with Parker School’s history and spirit.
“We are thankful to The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation for providing this lead gift in our capital campaign to build a new center for sports, science, and the arts,” Parker School Board President David Kirk said. “Having the foundation’s vote of confidence in our vision to strengthen our programs will not only be instrumental in attracting other foundations and private donors, but provide momentum in helping us reach our $12 million campaign goal.”