UH calls AIG ‘generous’ in arson talks
What ever happened to the insurance settlement over the multimillion-dollar University of Hawaii Lab School fire?
Answer: Nearly 19 months after the June 13, 2006, fire that destroyed a wooden building at the University Laboratory School, the UH and AIG, its insurance company, are still negotiating the amount.
Experts hired by both sides disagree on how much it would cost to rebuild the 67-year-old structure up to today's building codes, said David Hafner, UH-Manoa assistant vice chancellor for campus services.
The insurance company already has paid $2.6 million, said Donald Young, associate dean at the College of Education. The money includes $147,000 to remove debris and more than $850,000 to install four new portable classrooms at the lab school. They have also replaced the building contents.
"They've been fabulous to work with," Young said. "They've been very generous."
The building housed classrooms and offices for UH researchers and the public charter school's physical education, drama and music programs, officials said.
The final payout also could be affected by whether the university gets $49.5 million from the Legislature for a new College of Education building, which would replace other out-of-date wooden buildings at the Lab School and provide new office space and classrooms for the College of Education. About 25 percent of the settlement amount will be withheld by the insurance company until construction actually starts, Hafner said.
"Without the state giving us CIP money for a new education building, we're not going to be able to replace it," said Kathy Cutshaw, UH-Manoa vice chancellor for administration.
School alumni and other donors raised $130,000 to help replace items lost in the fire.
Young said some of that money went to upgrading the stage at the school's multipurpose building to replace lost performing arts space and for additional orchestra instruments and physical education equipment not covered by insurance.
At the time of the fire, damage to the building and contents was estimated at about $6.5 million.
Investigators determined the fire was deliberately set.
This update was written by Craig Gima.
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