Governor Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday released $7.5 million in bonds for the construction of two key buildings at the new Palamanui College. The campus is located mauka and just north of Kona International Airport.
This, combined with the $9.68 million donated to the university in January of 2012 by Palamanui LLC, a partnership between Hunt Companies Hawai’i and Charles R. Schwab, brings the total funding on hand to close to $17.2 million for West Hawai’i’s first permanent campus.
The university expects to go out to bid on construction of Phase 1A, the Culinary Arts Building, and Phase 1B, the Health Science and Student Services Building, by the end of August or early September. The two phases will encompass 23,100 square feet of classroom, laboratory and support spaces for 700 students.
Architectural design firm Urban Works has completed the plans and final design documents, enabling the bid process to begin.
“The expansion of UH in West Hawai’i fulfills a need for its growing community,” stated Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Palamanui will not only create new jobs but unique academic opportunities in the science and agricultural fields.”
“The community on the west side of the Big Island has waited long and patiently for us to arrive at this day,” said UH President MRC Greenwood, “and we are thrilled and gratified to be able to start the building process for this much-anticipated campus and bring the promise of a college degree that much closer to Hawai’i residents.”
Greenwood and Vice President for Community Colleges John Morton expressed gratitude to the governor for his commitment to supporting higher education on all islands, and to Hawai’i Island Mayor Billy Kenoi and his staff, and members of the Hawai’i County Council for working diligently to make this dream a reality.
The Palamani Campus, which will be an extension of Hawai’i Community College, will be the 11th permanent campus of the University of Hawai’i System and is expected to open its doors to students in the fall of 2014.
Palamanui LLC is completing infrastructure improvements worth about $10 million for the university to connect to electricity and water lines, increasing the Palamanui LLC investment to nearly $20 million. Hawai‘i Community College Palamanui Campus has been in the development stage for almost nine years.