Right now the exterior of the Honolulu Museum of Art School is surrounded by scaffolding, as work is done by RCM Construction to repair its lintels—that bar of concrete that tops each window.

“This building has been here for us for years, it’s only right that we take care of it,” says Art School director Vince Hazen.

The 107-year-old structure, built in 1908 as the original McKinley High School, is getting this partial—and crucial—infrastructure lift thanks to a generous grant from McInerny Foundation.

Floor-to-ceiling shores inside the Art School give the building more support. The result is temporarily reduced classroom and office space.

Floor-to-ceiling shores inside the Art School give the building more support. The result is temporarily reduced classroom and office space.

Started in April, the project isn’t as simple as just removing and replacing the lintels, which were cracking as a result of the rebar inside the concrete expanding. Because the lintels are load bearing, RCM Construction has had to find a way to take the building’s weight off the walls, to avoid further damage to the structure. The solution: Install massive floor-to-ceiling shores throughout the interior, including some of the classrooms.

The Art School has had to be creative with space and scheduling—the Monday night life drawing class now meets in the gallery.

The Art School has had to be creative with space and scheduling—the Monday night life drawing class now meets in the gallery.

“Use of the rooms with shoring in them has been extremely limited,” says Hazen, “Thankfully [Art School assistant director] Pearlyn [Salvador] has been very creative with room scheduling.” For example, the weekly Monday life drawing class is temporarily held in the gallery. While construction continues classes and exhibitions will proceed as normal.

The Honolulu Museum of Art School opened in 1990, and now serves more than 7,000 children and adults each year through classes, workshops, and outreach programs.