Enrollment jump forces KCC to look at expansion


POSTED: Monday, March 29, 2010

New parking structures and classrooms are being looked at as Kapiolani Community College tries to figure out how to accommodate additional students at its Diamond Head campus.

Enrollment at the 52-acre campus has jumped in the last two years. The campus enrolled 9,200 students last fall, a 22 percent increase from 2007, when KCC had about 7,500 students.

To accommodate the growth, KCC is considering building new parking structures and classrooms and talking to the community about how to best handle growth on the campus.

“;It is a popular campus,”; said state Sen. Les Ihara (D, Palolo-Waikiki). “;They have a lot of great courses. If they could find more parking, then they could provide more classrooms and courses.”;

For the last several months, the campus, which has the second-largest enrollment in the UH system, has been updating its master plan, hiring consultants PBR Hawaii under a $273,675 contract to help develop the plan and organize community meetings to discuss campus growth.

Bob Franco, director of planning and grants at KCC, said the campus master plan has not been updated since the 1980s, when the campus was built.






        Download the draft Long Range Development Plan for Kapiolani Community College from the KCC Web site,


E-mail comments to Bob Franco at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).




If enrollment continues to grow, Franco said, the campus will need to expand.

“;We're going to need new buildings,”; he said.

Ihara, who has been involved in some of the meetings, said the biggest concern of the people who live around the campus is parking.

“;There is not enough campus parking,”; Ihara said, and students are taking up scarce parking spaces in the neighborhood around the campus.

But the only way to get more parking on campus is to build new parking structures, which present appearance and funding problems, Ihara and Franco said.

Among the projects being considered are a five-story parking structure and classroom or office building on the parking lot above the Hawaii Film Studio and development of the vacant lot between Leahi Hospital and the Diamond Head Theatre, where a parking lot and classroom or office building could be built.

Ihara said neighbors prefer a parking structure in the parking lot above the Hawaii Film Studio because it would be least intrusive.

A parking structure and classroom building next to Leahi Hospital would be on a high point, and “;everyone would see it,”; Ihara said.

Funding is also a potential problem because parking is now free, and even more students would park off-campus if fees were charged to help offset the cost of a new structure, Franco said.

Other areas for possible campus development include the corners of Kilauea and 18th avenues and Makapuu and Kilauea avenues.

The plan is still just a draft, and it will likely be years before any new construction happens on campus, Franco said.

The draft plan will be presented to the Board of Regents in September, and KCC hopes to secure additional funding for a traffic and parking study and funds to finalize the plan and submit it to the city planning department.

In the meantime, KCC is looking to improve bus service to the campus and offering discounted university bus passes to students.