Funds released for University of Hawaii Information Technology Center design

University of Hawaiʻi
David Lassner, (808) 956-3501
UH Information Technology Services
Posted: Mar 9, 2007

HONOLULU - One million dollars in planning funds have been released by Gov. Linda Lingle for the design of a new UH Information Technology Center, including an Emergency Operations Center, that will be located on the UH Mānoa campus to serve the entire University of Hawaiʻi system.

The Information Technology Center will be the UH system¹s first facility ever designed and built to properly house the IT resources that support the academic and administrative needs of all 10 UH campuses on a 24-7 basis. The university‘s current communications and computing infrastructure is spread across multiple locations on campus, none of which have the kind of electrical power, air conditioning or communications capabilities to provide the availability of services needed to support a 21st-century institution of higher education.

UH President David McClain observed that "Constructing and operating a single shared modern information technology center for the UH system will save millions of dollars for the taxpayers and students who pay the bills by avoiding the need to duplicate this infrastructure across all 10 campuses."

During UH Mānoa studies of energy use, it has become apparent that the current obsolete IT facilities represent some of the least efficient energy consumers on campus. This result has occurred over many years of placing equipment that consumes large amounts of power and air-conditioning into multiple old spaces that were never designed for these purposes. UH Mānoa Chancellor Denise Konan noted that "Placing the IT infrastructure on which our campus and others rely into a single modern facility designed using state-of-the-art sustainability techniques will represent a major step forward in reducing one of our major sources of energy consumption."

The infrastructure that will be designed to support 24-7 information technology operations is also ideal for housing a new Emergency Operations Center for UH Mānoa and the UH system. The need for such a center has become more acute with the lessons of Hurricane Katrina and events more close to home such as the 2004 Mānoa flood and the recent November earthquake that cut power to most of the state including the Mānoa campus. UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor Kathy Cutshaw observed, "Once we realized the commonalities between the infrastructure needs for a new IT facility and an emergency operations center, it was clear that we should combine the projects to save money."

The new building will also house the Information Technology Services staff who are currently scattered across nine buildings and will free up substantial space on campus for education, research and "surge space" to permit the ongoing renovation of older facilities. The new building will include facilities for teleconferencing, digital media development and collaboration as well.

UH Chief Information Officer David Lassner noted that "The University of Hawaiʻi is recognized as the core of Hawaiʻi‘s emerging innovation economy. The new building will be a vital component in supporting our transition to a more digital society that relies on information and communications in our learning, research, work and play."

Planning for the project was completed in 2004 and the first $1 million in design funds just released were appropriated by the 2006 Legislature. The Board of Regents has requested the remainder of the design and constructions funds to complete the project in its current 2007-2009 Biennium Budget Request.