Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 7, 2003

Construction to start on new Kalihi YMCA

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

The YMCA of Honolulu will hold an official groundbreaking tomorrow for a $4.5 million facility to replace its aging Kalihi Street building.

No major programs will be shut down at the busy center, but children will be shuttled to several other sites in the area during construction, which is expected to take about a year.

The Kalihi project will be the first of a $30 million effort to improve YMCA facilities islandwide, said YMCA president Don Anderson.

"We're excited about this project and hope about this time next year we will be starting on the new Waipahu building," Anderson said.

The 5,000-square-foot Kalihi YMCA was built in 1946, and no major improvements have been undertaken in 50 years. The building will be torn down and replaced by a four-story, 16,000-square-foot building with parking and enough room to hold programs for preteens and teens simultaneously.

The Kalihi YMCA serves between 4,000 and 5,000 young people a year, Anderson said.

The new building will include a youth lounge and fitness room, study rooms, a computer lab, children's areas and offices and administration space.

The new building, between the Bishop Museum and Kalihi-Palama Public Library, will also be able to accommodate community gatherings and staff meetings.

The Kalihi YMCA is the home office for about 30 substance-abuse and outreach workers who will be moved into portable buildings during construction. The teen center will also be moved to a nearby portable building. Other youth programs will use area schools and parks during construction.

"There are thousands of students here on O'ahu who are struggling with substance abuse," Anderson said. "Kalihi YMCA staff members are on the front lines, every day, working with these students to help them stop using drugs. It is difficult work, but we are committed to doing it."

New or greatly improved YMCAs are also planned in Wai'anae, Waipahu and Kailua. The 51-year-old Central Branch will also get a major renovation.

Reach James Gonser at jgonser@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2431.