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Palamanui campus construction ‘on track’

April 11, 2014 - 5:45am

Construction of Hawaii Community College at Palamanui is moving ahead, with the pouring of concrete columns and foundations. This foundation work began last week and is expected to be completed at the end of April by the project’s general contractor F&H Construction, said Thatcher Moats of Hawaii Community College’s external affairs and relations.

This will then be followed with structural framing, running the plumbing lines and electrical wiring at the site, located north of mile marker 91 on Queen Kaahumanu Highway and mauka of Kona International Airport.

“Palamanui has been on track since work began in November 2013,” Moats said. “Construction crews have completed a lot of work, including grading and utility work, and are now pouring foundations for buildings. It’s an exciting time for higher education in the West Hawaii community.”

The campus has been in development for nearly a decade, with the land developer, Palamanui LLC, initially agreeing to build the first campus building itself. It took the collaboration of state, federal, county and private entities, all pooling their resources and expertise, to make it a reality.

Construction of the University of Hawaii’s 11th campus started in November 2013 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in May 2013, Moats said. F&H Construction, based on Maui and in California, was awarded the $25.1 million contract for the first phase.

This first phase consists of 24,000-square-feet of learning space, including classrooms, science laboratories, kitchens and a commons area that has a library, learning center and testing center, Moats said. These facilities will have the capacity to serve 700 students, he added.

Hawaii Community College expects this first phase to be completed in 2015, also when students are anticipated to be in the classrooms, Moats said.

“All the programs that are currently offered by Hawaii Community College and UH at the UH Center, West Hawaii in Kealakekua will be offered at the new campus,” he said. “New programs will be offered at Palamanui based on community needs, space availability, funding and curricula development.”

Planned second and third phases of the 78-acre campus will eventually bring the community college’s capacity to 1,400 students. Funding for these phases has not yet been secured so it’s unclear when they may begin, Moats said.

“The community support for Hawaii Community College — Palamanui has been tremendous throughout this project,” he said. “Ongoing expressions of support for Palamanui to state and county officials will continue to be tremendously helpful to UH as we grow higher educational service to West Hawaii.”

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