By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Joseph Ciotti, Ph.D., physics, astronomy, math, talks
about his hands on room that is very popular with all ages
in the new facilities of the new science building,
Hale 'Imiloa at Windward Community College.

Windward CC
has new, $6 million
science building

The facility is 'the cutting edge -
better than anything Manoa has'

By Helen Altonn

When Windward Community College opened 25 years ago, science students washed test tubes in the women's restroom, Jacqueline Maly recalled.

The science lab was in a classroom with no running water, said Maly, a biology teacher and science department chairwoman at the college.

Her husband built tables from castoff Waikiki Aquarium benches, Maly said.

The situation didn't get much better over the years, said Windward Provost Peter Dyer.

With all science programs sharing one wet lab and one dry lab, everything had to be removed and put in storage after every class, he said.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Floyd McCoy Ph.D., geology, geophysics, oceanography,
expresses great gratitiude about his new facilities
of the new science building.

So teachers and students had good reason to celebrate yesterday with dedication of the community college's $6 million science building, Hale 'Imiloa (Hall of Discovery).

The college's first new building in its 25-year history opened for classes this fall.

"It's about time," said Michelle Santana, 27, among Windward students at the dedication. "It's been on and off about seven years. The (college) facilities are pretty run-down. This is the most fabulous building on campus. It's finally like a normal upscale university."

Some design and equipment glitches still must be resolved, Dyer said. For example, about 40 faucets line sides of a long counter with a trough in the middle, and they have no sinks.

Other flaws involve air-conditioning and malfunctioning equipment.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Students are already using the long-awaited new
science facilities at Windward Community College.

"But if you saw what we dealt with before ... this is a dream facility," Dyer said. "This is a 1,000 percent jump."

Most problems are in the chemistry lab, which doesn't make chemistry professor Clyde Noble too happy.

But Floyd McCoy, geology, geophysics and oceanography professor, is thrilled that he can display rocks without having to put them away after every class. "It just means we can be professional," he said.

McCoy said the faculty worked with architects to design the building and "it came out the way we wanted it.... It's the cutting edge -- better than anything Manoa has."

UH President Kenneth Mortimer said he was embarrassed to learn that the science building was conceived about the same time as the UH sports arena, which opened about three years ago.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Ingelia White Ph.D., Botany, arranges orchids for the
grand opening of the new science building.

He said the new Windward Community College building is an important step in making the university and state a "competitive player" in science and technology.

Windward this year was one of 17 schools nationally to receive a National Science Foundation grant to improve science and technology.

The new building has seven state-of-the-art computer and scientific laboratories and about 20,000 square feet of teaching space, said Joe Ciotti, faculty liaison for the construction project.

Features include a plant identification library, the only Marine Option Program in the community college system and a Polynesian-voyaging course.

Ciotti was Hawaii's 1996 Carnegie Foundation teacher of the year for excellence in undergraduate teaching and one of two teacher-in-space candidates.

He has an aerospace laboratory with satellite links to NASA and a weather station link to the Tsunami Warning Center.

"We worked hard to bring together a group of talented teachers," Dyer said. "Now we have a facility. Bring on the students."

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