Sunday, November 25, 2001


Problems with the University of Hawaii's $1.2 million softball stadium,
including stands built too high and a sloping outfield, forced the university
to make repairs that cost an additional $612,000.

UH appoints Ah San
to supervise
construction projects

The new post is not related to past
errors in university projects,
a spokesman says

By Lisa Asato

The University of Hawaii has created a new position for a construction czar to oversee nearly $250 million in expedited construction and repair and maintenance projects.

Associate vice president for administration Allan Y.S. Ah San was appointed to the position. He will report directly to university President Evan Dobelle.

In a special session last month to help the state's economy, lawmakers authorized $150 million to help fund the construction of the UH Health and Wellness Center complex in Kakaako. The university system is also getting another $27 million for repairs and maintenance and $70 million in capital improvement funds.

"We are now engaged in planning and actual construction that marks the greatest commitment of dollars to new facilities and repair and maintenance projects in the shortest time span in the university's history," said Dobelle in a press release.

University spokesman Jim Manke said the position was not created because of problems the university has had with construction projects in the past.

"It's just a lot of projects are expected to come on line in a short time," he said. The new construction will take place over the next 14 months.

Perhaps the most publicized construction blunder at the university was the construction of the $1.2 million softball stadium, which was supposed to be finished in 1998. The stands were built too high and created an obstructed view of the field for 90 percent of the seats. Fixing the problem by raising the field four feet and leveling an unacceptable slope in the outfield brought the cost of repairs to more than $612,000.

There were also construction problems at the University of Hawaii's $48-million Pacific Ocean Science and Technology Building. The building opened in 1997 despite problems with a lack of furnishings, structural problems and air-conditioning snafus. When it opened, four of the nine floors weren't finished because money ran out.

The test kitchen at the University of Hawaii's $27-million Agricultural Science Building was unusable when it opened in 2000 because the proper outlets, ventilation and air conditioning for the stoves had not been designed or installed. Cost of the repairs was estimated at $300,000 to $400,000.

The new position will continue beyond the completion of the impending projects, Manke said, noting Dobelle's proposals to build a West Oahu campus and a film school at Manoa.

"None of those (projects) have been funded yet, but we did expect to ask for the funding," Manke said.

Ka Leo O Hawaii
University of Hawaii

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