- Associated Press - Thursday, September 25, 2014

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Education is building a $9 million alternate site in case lava hits an elementary school on the Big Island.

The department said Thursday the site at Keaau High’s parking lot would accommodate at least 17 classrooms and up to 500 students and staff.

Department spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz says based on projections of the lava’s path, it could hit Keonepoko Elementary.

The lava could cross Highway 130, which is considered a lifeline for residents in the lower Puna region.

If lava disrupts access to Keonepoko Elementary, Pahoa Elementary and Pahoa High and Intermediate, students living north of the flow will be rerouted to other area schools. Students who live south of the flow will remain at their schools as long as facilities aren’t damaged.

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