The University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents voted on February 21 to use $6.5 million in revenue bonds to help fund the development of Hawai‘i Community College — Pālamanui, a new campus planned for Kailua-Kona.
The board’s decision means Pālamanui is another step closer to being built. The revenue bonds will be added to $7.5 million in previously approved state funding and $9.68 million from developer Pālamanui LLC, bringing the total allocated funding to $23.68 million.
That total still falls short of the lowest construction bid, which was about $25.5 million. University officials are working with the low bidder, F&H Construction, to bring the project cost down to $23 million.
West Hawai‘i residents submitted testimony asking the regents to approve the use of revenue bonds. A petition also was signed by 140 students and staff.
Beth Sanders, interim director of the University Center — West Hawai‘i, said she was pleased with the board’s decision.
“Pālamanui will be a tremendous educational resource for West Hawai‘i when it’s complete, which is why the project has such strong support in the community,” said Sanders. “I’m happy the board took action to move the development of Pālamanui forward.”
The first phase of Pālamanui will include classrooms, science laboratories, learning kitchens, and a library and learning center. Current programs and classes at the Kealakekua campus will move to Pālamanui when the first phase is complete.
Pālamanui is expected to be open by January 2015.