In a significant step forward for the planned Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui campus, University of Hawaiʻi officials accepted a ceremonial check for $9.68 million from Pālamanui LLC to begin construction on the first phase of the campus.
Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui has been in the development stage for eight years and will be the first permanent physical facilities for the UH System on the west side of the island of Hawaiʻi.
The initial contribution of more than $5.2 million was delivered to the university this week by Pālamanui LLC, a partnership between Hunt Companies and Charles R. Schwab. An additional $4.4 million has been placed in escrow and will be released to the university upon completion of the mid-level road connecting Kona Palisades to the new campus, which the university is building and expects to complete in April.
University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Vice Chair James H. Q. Lee and University of Hawaiʻi President M.R.C. Greenwood accepted the symbolic check during a ceremony in Kona. Joining them were Hunt Companies Hawaiʻi Division President Steve Colón representing Pālamanui LLC and Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi.
“A college education creates opportunities for a better life,” said Lee. “Community colleges, with their low cost and open access, are the entry point for many who have traditionally been left out of higher education. We are gratified by and appreciative of the efforts of all who helped bring this promise to the residents of West Hawaiʻi.”
“This new campus is a powerful example of the university’s efforts to bring higher education and access to a college degree to underserved areas,” said Greenwood. “We are absolutely committed to doing that as part of the university’s mission. The new Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui campus will provide educational pathways to a better future not just to Hawaiʻi island residents, but to the residents of the entire state.”
Pālamanui LLC will soon begin infrastructure improvements worth another $10 million to connect to electricity and water lines. This necessary infrastructure will increase the Pālamanui investment to nearly $20 million and will enable the completion of the planned first phase of the campus.
“On behalf of Hunt Companies and Charles R. Schwab, I am thrilled to announce that Pālamanui has honored its commitment to provide the financial catalyst to make the Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui a reality,” said Colón. “This campus has been a dream for many in the West Hawaiʻi community for a long time, and it is especially gratifying to know that our efforts will guarantee its fruition.”
Comprehensive building plans should be completed in February. UH will apply for building permits and put the first phase of the project out to bid in the first quarter of 2012. A blessing, groundbreaking and the start of construction are anticipated this summer with completion expected in 2014.
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