UHWO Campus Coming 2012
Wow, what a tough session it was, chasing an enormous $1.4 billion deficit and making cuts to government services. But there have been bright spots.
Our district got a big investment of $201,066,000 in the 2009-2011 state budget to help fund important school, road and other infrastructure improvements. We also were able to set aside $67 million to help restore the Friday furloughs at our schools.
Also, a special congratulations to Kapolei High School on its 10th anniversary.
UH West Oahu Campus a Go
The best news by far of the 2010 session is that we were able to secure $48 million in funding for the planned UH West Oahu campus in Kapolei (near Farrington Highway and Kualaka‘ i Parkway). It was critical that we fund the project this year because otherwise the university could have lost the land.
The James Campbell Co. (formerly James Campbell Estate) had donated 202 acres to the university, but put in a stipulation that the land would revert back to them if construction on the campus doesn’t begin by Dec. 31, 2011. With the funding now secure, UH West Oahu will be on track to open Phase 1 of the campus by spring 2012.
The plan is to have an enrollment of roughly 2,750 students at that point, and the initial build-out would include an administration building, campus center, library and two classroom buildings. UH West Oahu will offer 22 bachelor degree programs, which will include many subjects not offered at the Manoa campus such as justice administration, healthcare administration, respiratory care, and computer, electronics and networking technology.
A university campus for West Oahu is greatly needed. Right now, only 21 percent of the young people in the DOE’s Leeward District attend college, compared to the statewide average of 38 percent.
The campus will create jobs by employing more than 300 people during the construction phase and an additional 1,000 jobs over the next decade. Another big plus is that it will cut down on rush-hour traffic on the H1 by directing traffic flow away from the downtown area.
Mahalo to chancellor Gene Awakuni and his team for persevering and my colleagues at the Legislature for understanding the importance of providing better higher-education opportunities for our community. Listen-Story My next “Listen-Story” community meeting will be from 9 to 10 a.m. June 12 at the Kapolei Starbucks (next to Chevron Station).
Please contact me if I can help you in any way. Call 5866830 or e-mail me at sengabbard@capitol.Hawaii.gov.