Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, left, shares a laugh with University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood prior to presentation of $9.68 million to the University of Hawaii to begin construction of the Hawaii Community College Palamanui campus in West Hawaii at the Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua Kona January 31, 2012. Photo By Michael Darden / www.dardenphotos.com
It’s not often in a higher education career that one gets to conceive, design and build a college campus form scratch. But that’s what the University of Hawaiʻi took a big step forward in doing recently when we accepted a check in the amount of $9.68 million from Palamanui Partners in Kona toward the construction of our first permanent campus on the west side of Hawaiʻi!
Hunt Companies Hawaiʻi Division president Steve Colon, representing Palamanui Partners which is a joint effort of Charles Schwab and Hunt Companies, presented a large symbolic check in that amount to Board of Regents Vice Chair James Lee and me, along with Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi, Vice President of Student Affairs and External Relations Rockne Freitas, and Hawaiʻi Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane. What an occasion to celebrate!
Rockne Freitas, back, with M.R.C. Greenwood, James Lee, Noreen Yamane, Billy Kenoi and Steve Colon (photo By Michael Darden)
This project has been in the planning stages for 8 years, and it’s remarkable that despite economic challenges the group stuck together and held the collective vision. This campus, when completed, will bring the promise of a college degree and a better quality of life to one of our most underserved areas. We couldn’t have gotten to this day without the help and constant support of community leaders like our Regents from the island of Hawaiʻi Carl Carlson and Barry Mizuno, Chair Eric Martinson, UH Foundation Board member Jim Lally, and so many others. Groundbreaking will occur this coming summer!