Kapolei Court Complex Will Open Soon
Waianae District Court and Kaahumanu Hale, the courthouse that houses both circuit and family court courtrooms and offices in Honolulu, are relocating to Kapolei this month.
The Waianae Court is set to open Monday (March 22), and the Family Court opens March 29.
“The judiciary believes that the creation of a full judiciary complex at Kapolei — which initially will contain a Family Court Center, a juvenile detention center, a rural district court, and which can be expanded later to include circuit court services— will benefit not only the developing Ewa/Kapolei region, but also the entire Oahu populace,” said Marsha Kitagawa, public affairs officer for the Hawaii State Judiciary.
“The need for adequate space to meet the demands of Oahu residents for family court services cannot be overstated,” she added, noting that currently, the family court courtrooms in town are too small to adequately conduct hearings and provide safe and secure separation of parties in an often-
“ Frequently,” Kitagawa explained, “those who should be physically separated, such as victims and criminal defendants or emotionally charged parties in divorce or custody proceedings, find themselves in very close quarters. Support services areas are crowded with far too little space for records storage, and crowded offices hamper efficient operations.”
Architects Hawaii Ltd. designed the complex to: strike a balance between the dignity of the judicial system and the openness necessary for family court; create a functional and flexible complex based on the users’ needs; and reflect Hawaiian values, culture and history as well as the West Oahu location with a modern emphasis.
“The people who will work in it told us what works, what doesn’t and what they wanted,” explained principal architect David Bylund. “Courthouses, in particular, do not see many casual encounters. It is a highly charged, emotional environment, and we wanted each design element to support the balance between the formality of the judicial system and the familiarity designed for children and families.”
A three-part circulation system allows judges, staff, detainees and the public to move separately with privacy and security.
“The courtroom design ensures that judges can clearly see the faces of the people whose situations they are considering,” added Bylund, “and the ceiling design, with its lights in a circle, is a gentle reminder of the Hawaiian custom of ho‘oponopono (righting a wrong through group effort).”
As part of the Art in Public Places Program, the State of Hawaii Foundation on Culture and the Arts held a competition last year to commission local artists for the more unique elements of the complex. Artist Doug Young drew inspiration from nearby Anianiku Beach to create patterns that resemble water patterns in the building’s five multi-story windows, while sculptor Leland Miyano provided two stone sculptures for the courtyard that reflect the dualistic nature of Hawaiian cosmology.
“The artwork is intended to support the hope that family problems will be resolved in a positive way. It evokes a sense of place that residents can relate to,” said Peter Rosegg, SFCA commission- er and chairman of the Art in Public Places Committee.
The designer also included kapa-inspired reliefs on the building’s exterior to represent the ancient Hawaiian ahupua‘a sustainability system and the constellations used for navigating the oceans, in turn linking family, community and cosmic laws of heaven.
“It’s a mesmerizing work that helps fulfill our goal of providing a powerful serenity amid the stressful courthouse activity,” Bylund said.
Kitagawa also believes the new complex will continue to have a positive effect on traffic and monetary concerns, as the relocation to Kapolei will help to relieve the overcrowded H-1 commute to downtown Honolulu and will save approximately half a million dollars in rent that currently is being paid to house family court functions at other locations, in addition to the $8,250 a month in rent for the Waianae facility.
The 123,118-square-foot court building, located at 4675 Kapolei Parkway, is four stories tall and features 12 non-jury courtrooms and one jury courtroom. The parking complex also will include 212 public stalls (11 of which are handicap-accessible) and 182 employee parking stalls.
The 10.97 acres of land on which the complex sits was donated to the state by the Estate of James Campbell.
“Given the current economic climate, the availability of land at Kapolei for little or no cost to the state was an attractive and rare opportunity, and the most prudent and advantageous use of what, even under ordinary circumstances, is a scarce and costly resource,” said Kitagawa.
“The Kapolei Court complex will undoubtedly increase the convenience for the residents of West Oahu, and neighboring residents will have easier access to court services such as obtaining traffic abstracts, paying traffic tickets, resolving divorce matters, filing for restraining orders and dealing with juvenile matters.”
For more information, call 539-4629.
Kimo Purdy and Mike Rice make a mad dash to stop traffic along Fort Barrette Road in time for Hawaiian Railway Society’s regular Sunday afternoon run, led by engineer Louis Hopf (standing, far left). Photo by Byron Lee, email@example.com.
Construction wraps up this month on the long-awaited Kapolei Court Complex, which houses the First Circuit Family Court, Waianae District Court and a juvenile detention center. Judges and staff should move into their new offices over the next few weeks. Photo courtesy Architects Hawaii Ltd.