Funds released for Hawaii Community College at Palamanui campus


Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released an additional $2.4 million to cover the cost of completing Hawaii Community College at Palamanui’s first phase.

Abercrombie announced the funding Thursday for the West Hawaii campus as part of a larger release of capital improvement project funds totaling $83.9 million for the University of Hawaii’s campuses statewide, which includes Hawaii Community College campuses. The funds were allocated by the state Legislature and approved by the governor.

The $2.4 million in funding will be used to complete simultaneously the construction of the Palamanui campus’ first phase, which includes separate culinary arts and health sciences and student services buildings totaling 24,000 feet, according to the governor’s prepared media statement.

John Morton, vice president for community colleges, said the $2.4 million will cover items that were removed from the first phase. The items were deferred to reduce the cost and allow the project to go forward with the $22.7 million the university had to spend.

Among the items that will now be included, thanks to the release of additional funding, are photovoltaic panels and equipment for the culinary arts kitchens and science labs.

Work on the first phase of the project began in May with the hope of contractor F&H Construction of Maui and California completing the buildings in late 2014. F&H Construction was awarded the $22.7 million contract, which will increase to $25.1 milion.

Right now, students attending University of Hawaii Center at West Hawaii do so in classrooms scattered across a retail center in Kealakekua. Roughly 450 students currently attend school at that campus, which has 12,500 square feet of classroom and office space. Planned second and third phases of the 78-acre Palamanui campus would bring the community college’s capacity to 1,400 students. The first phase brings the capacity to 700 pupils.

In addition to the $2.4 million for Palamanui, the governor released:

c $50 million for the planning, design and construction for maintenance and repair projects at various campuses statewide. The Manoa campus will receive $37.6 million, the Hilo campus $1.9 million, the West Oahu campus $41,000, community colleges $10.1 million and $251,00 for various projects statewide.

c $28 million for the design and construction for health and safety projects at various campuses statewide. The Manoa campus will receive will receive $5 million, the Hilo campus $9.4 million and community colleges $13.5 million. Among the projects are structural repairs, lighting, traffic safety and electrical system upgrades, and other safety and code requirements.

c $3.5 million for the design and construction of a road connection and a new means of exit and entry at the West Oahu campus.