UH Hilo College of Pharmacy facilities receive green light

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Oct 31, 2007

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy is poised to take another important step toward its goal of becoming one of the top pharmacy colleges in the nation.The first-year college, which seated its inaugural class of 90 students this fall, is currently conducting sessions in classrooms and laboratories belonging to the University‘s Biology and Chemistry departments. But the school can now make plans to move into a home of its own next year in the University Park of Science and Technology after Governor Linda Lingle last week released $6 million for design and construction of new, temporary facilities.

"This is a powerful statement that raises the profile of the College of Pharmacy," said Chancellor Rose Tseng. "We firmly believe it will help transform UH Hilo by producing first-class pharmacists, establishing networks throughout the State, and enhancing our role as a major economic engine. The approval and release of this funding sends a clear signal that the Governor and legislature share and support that vision."

Plans call for up to four modular buildings on a four-acre parcel in the University Park of Science and Technology next to the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) on South Aohoku Place. The new facilities will include classrooms, teaching laboratories and offices. Design work is expected to be finished in November, with construction beginning in February and wrapping up in Fall 2008."Building these interim facilities will enable us to continue recruiting top-notch faculty and staff, accept our next class of students, and maintain a solid foundation for retaining our professional accreditation," said College of Pharmacy Dean John Pezzuto. "It will also allow us to launch our research programs, which is important because discovery is critical to our success."

Members of the inaugural class say they are receiving the instruction they need to become successful pharmacists, and view the new facilities as an important piece of the puzzle. Jessica Toyama said where one learns can have a positive impact on what one learns."We are very pleased to be able to study pharmacy in Hilo," Toyama said. "The faculty is fantastic, and the addition of our own facilities will help unite the class and form lifelong relationships that will make a big difference in our careers."

The College is the first in Hawaiʻi to be accredited by the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE) to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, and will graduate its first class in 2011. Administrators have already received a flood of applications for next fall‘s class of 80-90 students, which they anticipate totaling up to 1,000. University Relations Director Gerald De Mello said the new classrooms, laboratories and offices will help the college meet its accreditation requirements, while turning its attention to the next phase.

"The classroom and laboratory space that these modular units will provide are both needed and welcome, so we‘re obviously very pleased," De Mello said. "The College of Pharmacy will still need a permanent site and building, but Phase I is important because it establishes a solid foundation for the full build out."