UH seeks
dorms developer

The University of Hawaii has put out a formal request to find a private developer to build and possibly manage the first new dorms on its Manoa campus in more than 25 years.

University of Hawaii Housing for at least 800 students would be constructed through the renovation or redevelopment of Frear, Johnson and the International Gateway House dorms on Dole Street near East-West Road.

"I think the need is definitely there," said Jan Yokota, the director of the UH Office of Capital Improvements. "We're very excited about taking this first step to getting private developer proposals."

The capacity of the three buildings is 535 beds, but Frear Hall, the oldest dorm on campus, is closed because it needs to be repaired or torn down.

One estimate suggests it would cost at least $35 million to modernize Frear Hall.

UH issued a "request for qualifications" this week, the first step in selecting a developer.

The university will evaluate the qualifications of the development teams based on their experience, personnel and financial soundness.

A short list of three to five developers will be selected by Feb. 4. Those developers will submit a proposal for the financing, construction and possible management of the dorms by Mach 25.

If all goes on schedule, the university hopes to have the new dorms ready for students by the spring of 2007.

The dorms would pay for themselves through student housing fees.

Yokota acknowledged that fees for the news dorms could be more expensive than current housing costs. But she said it is too early in the process to know what kind of increase would be needed.

She said the university is creating a master plan for student housing at all campuses that should be finished by March. The master plan would likely include renovation or replacement of other dorms.

The plan would unfold in phases, Yokota said, with Frear/Johnson/Gateway House being the first phase.

However, Yokota said the developer selected for the Frear/Johnson/Gateway House project would not necessarily be selected to participate in other renovations.

The university has been exploring the possibility of building private dorms on campus for several months, and several developers from all over the country have expressed interest in bidding on the project.

University of Hawaii

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