Posted on | November 19, 2010 | Comments Off
The university signed an agreement on Nov. 19 that clears the way for construction of the long-awaited Hawaiʻi Community College at Palamanui. Hawai‘i CC at Palamanui will be built on a 78-acre site owned by the university, located about a mile north of Kona Airport. It is expected to be the one of the most energy-efficient college complexes in the United States when it opens in fall 2012.
“We are incredibly pleased to have reached this public-private partnership, which allows us to move forward on something that has been talked about for decades,” says President M.R.C. Greenwood. “This enlightened approach permits us to bring the best-quality educational opportunity to a part of our state that has been educationally underserved up to now.”
Under the agreement, the university will build a $4.7 million access road to the site, and Palamanui Partners, LLC, developers of the Palamanui community, commit to spending an equal amount toward building the first of two planned phases of the community college project.
“We expect to serve about 700 total students when the first phase is completed,” says Noreen Yamane, Hawaiʻi interim chancellor. “That includes about 200 students who attend by way of our distance-learning capabilities.”
The first phase will include one complete building and a stand-alone portion of a second building, to be extended during phase two. The campus provides some 23,000 square feet of space, and it will include the University of Hawai‘i Center in West Hawai‘i, which will be relocated from its current 12,500-square-foot rented space in Kealakekua.
“We are so excited about the sustainability features being built into this campus,” says Beth Saunders, UH Center, West Hawaiʻi interim director. “It will have the highest possible ranking from the U.S. Green Building Council.” The Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design Platinum designation means the complex will employ the most advanced technology to conserve resources, according to architect John Ida of Urban Works, Inc.
Greenwood said the university was grateful for the support for the Palamanui Campus that came from Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi, Stacy Higa, former chairman of the Hawaiʻi County Council and its members, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, including Senators Dwight Takamine and Russell Kokubun, and U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, who has pledged federal support where possible for the energy-saving elements of the project.
Groundbreaking for the access road construction is expected in late 2010 or early 2011. The first phase of construction is expected to begin by fall 2011, with completion anticipated by fall 2012.