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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:55 a.m., Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Kamehameha confirms it won't buy Bishop Museum campus

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kamehameha Schools has confirmed it is no longer considering an outright purchase of the Bishop Museum campus in Kalihi.

Kamehameha Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said this week that chief executive officer Hamilton McCubbin is continuing to explore other possible relationships with the museum, including establishing a cultural and educational and/or service center in its historic Bishop Hall, the first school building for Kamehameha Schools.

Paulsen was commenting on remarks earlier this week by museum president W. Donald Duckworth, who said the idea of selling the site to the schools was "probably off the table."

The museum approached the school last year with the idea it could buy the 15-acre museum property, and the museum could use the sale proceeds to move to Kaka'ako.

Schools staff concluded early on that such a purchase could not be justified for the schools' educational programs, but agreed to explore it further after it was encouraged by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. OHA said it and other Hawaiian service organizations might find a home with the school on the museum campus.

"What President Duckworth said was accurate," Paulsen said. "We are no longer considering an outright purchase of the Kalihi campus. We do continue to talk with them about possibilities in other facilities, namely Bishop Hall."

Restoration of Bishop Hall would be a challenge, as well as an opportunity for the school to return to its original home with a cultural and historical program and/or a service center more accessible than the Kapalama Heights campus, Paulsen said.

"Conceptually one of the things which would be nice to have in a place like Bishop Museum or on that campus would be a center for programs that need to be accessed readily by the community, such as our admissions office and possibly financial aid," Paulsen said.

There also has been progress on discussions about additional educational programs using the resources of the school and the museum, he said.

"We are still looking at the full range of possibilities, whether we have a permanent facility there which would lease or buy outright, or if we simply had programmatic content or shared brand new programs there," Paulsen said.

"The concept right now would include all of those – I don't think it has been narrowed down to either service or education. The full range of possibilities is being looked at."Duckworth said Sunday that as a result of the Kamehameha decision, Bishop Museum might build a new science center in Kaka'ako but will not completely move to that waterfront site.