The 2011 Legislative Session is in full gear and I, our system administrators and chancellors have been spending a lot of time at the capitol meeting with legislators and testifying on a number of bills that impact the university. Of the six bills in the legislative package approved by the Board of Regents, five are still moving.
Of special concern to us are House and Senate bills that would reverse our financial flexibility by repealing the University of Hawaii’s special and revolving funds. Both bills have been deferred, but that does not mean that we’re in the clear yet. We will continue to stay vigilant and do all we can to preserve the university’s funding and flexibility.
Earlier this week, Gov. Abercrombie presented his draft state budget to legislators. It proposes giving UH only part of what we asked for. We would, of course, like to receive more, but the administration has worked with UH to identify the highest priorities considering the limited resources available, and we are grateful to be treated relatively well. I have met with Gov. Abercrombie and key members of his senior staff on numerous occasions, and I will continue to do so to make sure they know and understand what the university’s needs are.
University and campus news
- Big Island projects reach milestones
- UH APEC team appointed
- New Hawaiian language facility started
- $6 million energy grant received
- Alums join Korean cabinet
- Firms support West Oahu insurance program
- Community colleges extend outreach efforts
Big Island projects reach milestones
Tomorrow is a very important day for the Thirty-Meter Telescope project. The Conservation District Use Application is on the state Board of Land and Natural Resources’ agenda for action at its meeting tomorrow. The staff report, which is very thorough and well done, recommends approval with conditions that are acceptable to UH. We are cautiously optimistic that the permit will be granted, and we anticipate a contested case. Getting the permit granted would be a very important milestone for the project.
Read about the telescope in Malamalama.
Another important project for the Big Island—this one on the Kona sid—is our Hawaii Community College at Palamanui. We will celebrate a ground blessing on March 18 as construction begins on the access road.
As part of the agreement signed last November, the university will build a $4.7 million access road to the site, and Palamanui Partners, developers of the Palamanui community, will spend an equal amount toward building the first of two planned phases of the community college project. It’s exciting to see this long-held vision coming to fruition. We are very pleased with this public-private partnership and the community support we have received to help move the project forward.
Read about the project in Malamalama.