Category Archives: Renovate to Innovate

Palamanui check presentation

Palamanui check presentation

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 /

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!

Palamanui check presentation

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!

More photos from the event on Flickr.

Legislative tour of cancer center site

Group of people in orange vests and hard hats in front of multi-story building under construction

Lawmakers visiting the UH Cancer Center project with, from left, Regent Dennis Hirota, Mānoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and UH Cancer Center Director Michele Carbone

A number of lawmakers joined us this week for a tour of the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center construction project. The new center will help us improve health care for Hawaiʻi cancer patients, advance understanding of cancers that are prevalent in our island population and explore potential new cures found in our unique environment.

View more photos from the tour.

Touring the new West O‘ahu campus construction site

Board of Regents tour the new UH West Oahu campus construction site

Board of Regents tour the new UH West Oahu campus construction site

The UH West Oʻahu is going to be an absolutely outstanding campus, and set a standard for green construction and energy efficiency! The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents toured the site, under construction and set to open doors in the fall of 2012) after their board meeting out in Kapolei.

The Regents meet once a month, excluding summers, and at a different campus each month so they can appreciate the diversity and strengths of our 10 campuses statewide. West Oʻahu did a terrific job hosting our October meeting, and topped it off with a fabulous site visit so Regents could see the buildings and surroundings taking shape.

What a jewel in the crown of UH this new campus will be when it opens a year from now!

Follow the progress of the new campus construction.

Video of the West Oʻahu construction progress

New science building for Hilo campus

four people in front of building

Gerald De Mello and Donald Straney with M.R.C. Greenwood and Mary Wolshak

group of people inside building

From left, university officials Randy Hirokawa, Gerald De Mello, M.R.C. Greenwood and Donald Straney; student Ashlee Kalauli; Mayor Billy Kenoi; Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Senators Gilbert Kahele and Malama Solomon; Rep. Jerry Chang; Chancellor Emeritus Rose Tseng

During the blessing for UH Hilo’s new Science and Technology building, I shared the inspiring testimony of a Native Hawaiian Big Island student who wants to be an astronomer.

Read my remarks. For more about the facility, read the news release.

Cancer center construction underway

group in hardhats with Honolulu cityscape in background

AC Kobayashi and UH officials from left: Russell Young, Caroll Takahashi, Brian Minaai, M.R.C. Greenwood, Myles Ikeda, Kathy Inouye and Warren Leong

aerial shot of building construction

One of the major bright spots on the economic and construction horizon is our beautiful state-of-the-art UHCancer Center. I had a chance to tour the site recently and was impressed to see the progress of this on-schedule, on-budget exciting new piece of the economic fabric of our community.

Read more about the cancer center project.

Visiting UH West Oahu

women shaking hands

Greeting faculty while Chancellor Gene Awakuni looks on

I made a visit to UH West Oʻahu a few weeks ago. We are all really excited about the state-of-the-art buildings that are starting to sprout up there on the ʻewa plains! It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with faculty and staff leaders as well as Chancellor Gene Awakuni.

The day included short speeches sharing visions of a vibrant UH West Oahu. We also had conference room presentations about the new campus, faculty research projects and community partnerships.

Staff designer and photographer Valentino Valdez captured the day in photographs, full slideshow below.

Thank you everyone for all your hard work at UH West Oʻahu!