When Academy for Creative Media (ACM) students at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu return to in-person classes, they will be limited only by their imaginations in the newly constructed 33,000-square foot, $37 million Creative Media Facility. The “future-looking” facility cements the campus as the destination for creative media education in the state by linking facilities and programs throughout the UH System and across the state as a catalyst for Hawaiʻi’s intellectual property workforce.
“This brand new ACM Facility is the culmination of years of efforts to bring the best possible creative media education to the state of Hawaiʻi and gives our students the skills they need to help diversify our economy. It really serves as the hub for the University of Hawaiʻi’s efforts,” Academy for Creative Media System Founder and Director Chris Lee said.
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The opening of the new building aligns with one of UH West Oʻahu’s newest and fastest-growing degree programs—the bachelor of arts in creative media. UH West Oʻahu’s Creative Media program embraces digital media literacy and storytelling as experienced through video, animation, video games, design, social media, web and app development, virtual and augmented reality, and other new forms of media communication and design through concentrations in communication and new media technologies, design and media, game design and development and general creative media. Creative media was the fastest-growing degree program at UH West Oʻahu in fall 2020, with 258 majors.
Sharla Hanaoka, UH West Oʻahu’s Academy for Creative Media director, called the symbiosis between the new building and academic programming paramount to the delivery of course materials and subjects that will prepare students for the industry.
“It allows students to gain hands-on experiences that books cannot duplicate in an environment that promotes not only learning but exploration,” she said. “This leads to the growth of confidence through experimentation with complex equipment.”
“The one room I’m most excited about is the post-production room,” said creative media student Nadine Castillo. By practicing on industry-standard equipment, Castillo can envision pursuing a career in film production, and she has her eye on the Black Magic/Da Vinci color-correcting studio to improve her craft.
The facility features a Dolby Atmos 100-seat screening room and mixing stage, Esports arena, post-production suites, an emerging media lab, incubator space, and industry-standard sound stage. The building also features:
- 16’ wide x 9’ high LED Planar video wall with seating risers and a cafe in the Roy and Hilda Takeyama Lobby. The video wall can be used to display student work, welcome visitors, thank donors and for esports tournaments.
- Interactive teaching boards, remote learning/video conferencing equipment, in multiple flex classrooms and computer labs
- Incubator space for collaboration and student and alumni-run companies
- Mill shop with industrial equipment for set construction and design related projects and separate 3D maker space
- Hawaiʻi European Cinema Writers Room for collaboration
“This state-of-the-art facility is the culmination of a long journey made possible by the generous support of many friends, including UH alumni like Roy and Hilda Takeyama and Jay Shidler, and consistent funding by the legislature and the governor,” Lee said. “In particular, many thanks to Senators Michelle Kidani, Donna Kim and Donovan Dela Cruz, as well as Representatives Sylvia Luke and Ty Cullen for their vision to include both planning and CIP funds to make the building a reality.”
The Academy for Creative Media System partners with area high schools and UH Community Colleges to deliver creative media curriculum by bridging high school to college to the workforce. The UH West Oʻahu Creative Media program has Early College (high school students earn college credits by taking college-level courses) partnerships with Waiʻanae, Kapolei, Waipahu and Campbell high schools. All UH Community Colleges have articulation agreements leading to a bachelor’s degree in creative media at UH West Oʻahu.