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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, October 18, 2001

New dorms planned for UH-Hilo

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO — University of Hawai'i president Evan Dobelle yesterday announced plans to build an additional 300 dormitory units for the Hilo campus to help push enrollment to 5,000 students by 2007.

The 2,912-student campus already is undergoing a building boom, including a new marine sciences center to be dedicated today.

Declaring that Hilo "should be a great college town," Dobelle repeated earlier promises to seek

$55 million for a special events center for sports and performing arts, $30 million for a science and technology center, and $8 million for a student services center, in addition to $13 million for deferred repairs and maintenance.

Along with $8 million to launch a permanent West Hawai'i learning center in North Kona, Dobelle is asking $114 million for Big Island projects out of $400 million in UH construction statewide.

The dormitory initiative is critical to the future of UH-Hilo, according to Dobelle, who said parents sending their children to college want reassurance that they are in a safe, supervised setting.

He expects UH marketing efforts to bring an increase of 500 students from Europe and a similar number from Asia as a part of the Hilo campus's broader mix of students that also will include more from the West Coast. Dobelle made a similar proposal for Maui Community College, where he wants an additional 1,000 dorm units to accommodate growth at what eventually will be a four-year university.