UH President Unveils $700 Million Proposal
A $700 million plan to improve the University of Hawaii system could also help the economy at the same time.
The capital improvements plan was unveiled Tuesday by UH President Evan Dobelle (pictured, right) in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It will be presented to the Legislature as part of Gov. Ben Cayetano's $1 billion capital improvements package to stabilize Hawaii's economy, which has been reeling since the attacks.
"With the greater institutional freedom granted to us in the form of autonomy, the university has the unique ability to spend this money now," Dobelle said.
The proposal includes tapping $150 million from the state's $1.2 billion tobacco settlement fund and matching it with private funds.
The money would go to build a new medical school facility in Kakaako, as well as relocate and the university's Cancer Research Center and create a new Center for Biotechnology.
"There is significant acreage for the private sector to create leasable research space," UH Medical School Dean Edwin Cadman.
A second portion of Dobelle's plan calls for an expansion of the entire University of Hawaii system that would cost $400 million.
$150 million: build a new UH-West Oahu campus next to the Kapolei library.
$88 million: construction of a multi-purpose arena, science and technology center, and enhanced student services center on the UH-Hilo campus.
$70 million: construct an addition to Kennedy Theater on the UH-Manoa campus to house facilities for the consolidation of information and computer sciences, setting the stage for a new system-wide film school.
$18 million: creation of a student services, academic services and administrative complex at Kauai Community College.
$11 million: renovation of the student services building at UH-Maui.
$8 million: infrastructure development in preparation for the UH Center at West Hawaii.
$55 million: system-wide repairs and maintenance, including $25 million at UH-Manoa and $13 million at UH-Hilo.
The idea is that the new construction will go a long way to stimulate the economy.
"These are difficult times in Hawaii and maybe the University of Hawaii can be the answer or at least part of the answer," Dobelle said.
If lawmakers approve the spending plan, Dobelle hopes that the university can break ground on many of the projects within six months. He is hoping that legislators give the OK to the plan during a special session that is scheduled for later this month.