Edwin Cadman, dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, and others from the University of Hawaii medical school on Thursday toured the facility under construction in Kakaako.

Rooms with a view

The facilities-in-progress
are taking a high-tech seat
at the head of the class

Fast facts about the school

Ed Cadman says when he came to Hawaii from Yale 4 1/2 years ago he had no idea the John A. Burns School of Medicine would turn into "the most modern medical school in the country."

"That's reality," said the dean of the University of Hawaii medical school, looking from the 10th floor of the Gold Bond Building at the construction site in Kakaako. "I didn't expect this to happen."

Personnel of the medical school, which was once recommended for closure, took a recent hard-hat tour to see how their $150 million future quarters are progressing next to Kakaako Waterfront Park.

Dodging wires, planks and stacks of materials in the growing buildings, the personnel were impressed with the spacious rooms and laboratories, the design, high-tech amenities and views of Diamond Head and the oceanfront from the many windows.

"This is a vision of Ed Cadman," said Allan Ah San, director of the school's development office, leading the group.

Looking at her prospective office with a sweeping view of Diamond Head, Nanette Judd, director of the school's Imi Ho'ola Program for disadvantaged students, said, "This is great! I'm ready to move in."


The 112,000-square-foot education building will be turned over to UH in November, and students will move in at the end of February or early March, Cadman said.

The research building, about 216,000 square feet, will be completed about this time next year for occupancy by scientists in September 2005, he said.

Before the Yale University oncologist and professor of medicine was recruited, two faculty committees agreed the medical school was a drain on the UH budget and should be closed.

The rejuvenated school has been expanding research expertise and funding and is stimulating interest in a bioscience campuspark with biotechnology industries at nearby Kakaako sites.

"The campus will blend in with Kakaako Park," Cadman said. "There will be no barriers, no fences. A lot of cities don't have 100 acres within city limits to develop a biotechnology park."

A big plus is companies won't have to spend a lot of money to accommodate biotech research because they can use medical school facilities for a fee, Cadman said.

Ah San pointed to innovations such as a rig with the Board of Water Supply to draw cold ocean water for air conditioning to conserve potable water and reduce electrical consumption used to chill water. "The technology can be exported to surrounding buildings," he said.

Besides large classrooms and clinical rooms for students to practice skills, the education building will have a simulation room "with everything you can imagine in video equipment -- access to the world," Ah San said.

Dr. Edwin Cadman, dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, left, was joined in a Thursday tour of the new Kakaako school by Damon Sakai, Cheryl Reyes, Karen Sakamoto, Nanette Judd, Clarita Barretto and Allan Ah San.

It will also have a 1,450-seat auditorium, a large library with refined air conditioning to control mold and a cafe, operated by the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Institute, that will be open to the public.

Because of the research requirements, Ah San said architects and builders looked at facilities in earthquake-prone California and designed the medical school to be vibration-free, meeting or exceeding standards.

Interchangeable walls in the research building will provide flexibility for offices and laboratories, including an animal facility and biosafety laboratories with advanced equipment such as DNA and protein analyzers.

"You could not believe the amount of wiring this building has taken," Ah San noted. But the entire complex also has wireless capability, he said.

Child-care and fitness facilities and a central plant will be housed in an 8,500-square-foot ancillary building.

Ah San said the project is unique for Hawaii because "it's like Lego construction," using precast panels with architectural designs.

Hawaiian Dredging-Kajima is the builder, working with Architects Hawaii.

The construction cost is probably the highest in the state at $500 a square foot because of the special requirements, Ah San said, adding: "It will be quite a feat when it's all done, a nice place to hang your hat at work. I think the state will be proud of it."

He said the project's insurer recently provided a steak lunch for everyone working on the site because it's one of the safest projects ever insured nationally.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano identified the 10-acre Kakaako site as an ideal location for the complex.

"911 came along, and we were the only people who had plans to put people to work in the construction business, so a special (legislative) session was held," Cadman said.

The Legislature provided $150 million from the tobacco settlement for the complex, and UH President Evan Dobelle said he would raise another $150 million for the $300 million undertaking.

The additional funding is needed to build a new Cancer Research Center of Hawaii on a five-acre state site Ewa of the medical school. The amount includes $60 million to renovate the biomedical building on the Manoa campus.

Cadman showcased Hawaii's biotechnology developments at forums in California, drawing "tremendous interest" in state plans to develop leaseable research space for small companies.


Fast facts about
the UH medical school

Some facts about the John A. Burns School of Medicine :

The funding since 1999:

>> Revenues have increased nearly 100 percent to $98 million from $50 million.

>> Grants and contracts have grown 240 percent to $43 million from $11 million.

>> Research dollars have increased 700 percent to $25 million from $3.1 million.

New medical school programs include:

>> The Asia Pacific Institute for Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

>> Molecular genetics of disease prevention.

>> Drug discovery related to traditional healing plants.

>> Vaccines for AIDS and malaria.

>> Neurobiology focused on the molecular basis of behavior.

>> Clinical research center providing support for 80 clinical trials.

Projected benefits of the new medical school include:

>> Creation of 500 to 600 jobs.

>> Estimated annual economic benefits of $75 million to 80 million in medical school research and $100 million to $125 million in private industry research.

Source: John A. Burns School of Medicine


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