The evolution of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo continues. The latest addition is a four million dollar bookstore that opened in the spring 2013 semester.
“Twenty percent of the Hilo population is now students studying at the University of Hawaiʻi and we need a bookstore that is big enough and modern enough to reflect what their needs are,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney.
The new bookstore serves both UH Hilo and nearby Hawaiʻi Community College, which has a combined enrollment of over 7,000 students. It is nearly double the size of the old location at 6,500 square feet, and offers a lot more than just textbooks, school and art supplies, logo apparel and accessories, computers, software and electronics.
“We have a lounge area where people can eat and study,” said Hilo Bookstore manager Jason Tanaka. “Computer kiosks where students can use free internet as well as the entire building itself has free Wi-Fi.”
“It’s beautiful,” said Kristin Hardy, a UH Hilo student. “I think they did an awesome job of it. It is so much more open and I like how they are updating things on campus.”
“It looks great compared to how it used to look,” said Hawaiʻi Community College student Patrick Garcia. “It looks way better, all the nice stuff in here, it’s just way better than how it used to be.”
Not only is it a serious upgrade from the old bookstore, it’s in a much more convenient location. The new bookstore is connected to Campus Center and the school’s cafeteria.
“The old bookstore was hard to find,” said Hawai’i Community College student Rochelle Koi. “It was kind of below everything. This is much more open.” The Hilo Bookstore is also open to the general public.
The new bookstore is just the latest addition to the campus as construction continues on more student housing, the College of Hawaiian Language and the student services building, along with other plans for projects like a new building for the School of Pharmacy.
“We were originally a branch campus, a small start-up operation, and we have evolved beyond that,” said Straney.