New Schofield Barracks school lauded as model for modernizing Hawaii's military facilities
Hawaii state officials and the Schofield Barracks community on Saturday dedicated the new two-story, four-building Samuel K. Solomon Elementary School complex named in honor of a Big Island-born Army hero.
It replaced the former school which was dedicated on Veterans Day 50 years ago.
Solomon's family flew in from Utah to celebrate with students and the community.
"The legacy he would like is that everyone do their best and be proud of themselves. And strive to do better all the time," said his widow Virginia Solomon. "We're very thankful and happy. it makes it kind of all worth it. All those years without him. It means a lot to me and I know it would have meant a lot to him."
Construction was funded by a $70 million Department of Defense grant and $20 million in state funding.
It houses 63 classrooms, two computer labs and an audio/video room and serves more than 800 children and their military families.
"It is really about how he lived his life and can be an Inspiration to all our students here," Gov. David Ige. "It is great that we can take a portion of the department of defense budget and really invest it for our students."
The school is being praised as a successful example of the kind of partnership -- federal and state officials say -- that is critical to modernizing military facilities across the islands.
"Schofield Barracks sits right next to Wahiawa," said U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii Commander Col. Thomas Barrett. "We have to do everything in partnership, the military can't do anything alone. The Army comes from the cities, towns, villages that make up the United States of America."
The teachers, students and staff "see the importance of it, they feel it, they know how special this is," said principal Sally Omalza.
First sergeant Solomon was a member of the 25th Infantry Division Wolfhounds and veteran of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War.
It was during that last tour that he was killed while carrying wounded men to safety. He earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.