UH-West Oahu gets designer
The project will bring a "college town" atmosphere
The architect who designed Punahou's Case Middle School and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center has been selected to design the first buildings of a new University of Hawaii-West Oahu campus in Kapolei.
The university is negotiating terms with John Hara Associates Inc. to begin the design work for the $150 million project, said UH-West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni.
"Our goal is to create a college town atmosphere," said Awakuni, who was formerly at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
He envisions a campus for about 1,500 students, an expansion over UH-West Oahu's current student population of 834 who are now housed in portable classrooms next to Leeward Community College.
At the entrance to the Kapolei campus would be a university village with restaurants, shops and apartments.
Another feature of the campus will be its "sustainability" with energy-efficient features and environmentally friendly features, Awakuni said.
The dream will not come cheap and is dependent upon the residential and commercial development of about 245 acres around the campus to pay for the construction costs.
The university is negotiating with a development team headed by Hunt ELP Ltd. of El Paso, Texas, which will get development rights in exchange for building the first phase of the new campus.
Student on-campus housing and perhaps faculty housing could be part of the deal, Awakuni said.
The design work will be paid for through an $8 million appropriation from the Legislature. A big part of the total cost of the new campus will be the construction of infrastructure -- roads, water, sewer and electricity -- on the 500 acres of raw land next to the Kapolei golf course.
The cost of new staff and faculty for an expanded campus is dependent on tuition increases, Awakuni said.
He added that the new campus should not require significant new taxpayer-funded expenses.
"As tuition increases, it will allow us to hire more faculty and more staff, otherwise it will be difficult," Awakuni said.
If all goes as hoped, the university could break ground on the new campus in 2007.
The new UH-West Oahu would be a four-year institution, including freshmen and sophomores. Currently the campus only has juniors and seniors.
Awakuni hopes to attract students not just from West Oahu, but from all over the state, Asia and the mainland.
The college's focus will be on degrees to get people in the work force in areas where the state needs graduates such as nursing and teaching, he said.
"I believe there's going to be a great demand for us," Awakuni said.
Awakuni said the goal is to create a college community ambience with a Hawaiian flair in the university village, where students and faculty and live and work within a short distance from the campus.
"It's unique. There's nothing like it in Hawaii," Awakuni said. "We're trying to create a connection between the town and the university."