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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 21, 2006

Regents approve revised plan for UH-West O'ahu

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer

A revised long-range plan for a University of Hawai'i campus in West O'ahu was approved yesterday by the UH Board of Regents and includes several changes to the original plan passed in 2004.

The first phase of construction is scheduled to be completed in May 2009, rather than 2008. And about 4,040 residential units, including 760 student housing units at three beds per unit, also are planned for the Kapolei site substantially more homes than originally expected.

Also, the amount of commercial space has been decreased to about 843,000 square feet, which is substantially less than previously planned.

Gene Awakuni, UH-West O'ahu chancellor, told the regents that there still is about $4 million left in planning money appropriated in 2003 to continue with the design and entitlement process. But if the project is to move to the construction phase, money would have to come from the Legislature by next session.

This past legislative session, $33.5 million in bond money proposed by Gov. Linda Lingle was not included by state lawmakers in the state budget. That made regents question yesterday if the West O'ahu project can remain on track.

"We've experienced setbacks, but we're not discouraged," Awakuni said. "We still have enough money set aside, for now. But we'll need the Legislature to come through."

The long-range development plan received its fair share of criticism from Mary Tiles, president of the UH Professional Assembly, the university faculty union.

Tiles expressed concern about the apparent lack of faculty housing at the West O'ahu site and systemwide.

"The lack of housing, for faculty in particular ... is making it difficult to recruit and retain quality faculty," Tiles said.

Awakuni said there are rental units planned for the site, and the possibility of giving faculty priority to those units could be discussed with the university's private partner.

Hunt Building Co. Ltd. entered into a public-private partnership with the university to help develop the West O'ahu campus in exchange for up to 200 acres to be used for commercial and private housing development.

The regents also approved the appointment of Francisco Hernandez as the new UH-Manoa vice chancellor for students. Hernandez previously served as the vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

His appointment of three years begins Aug. 1.

Darolyn Lendio's appointment as vice president for legal affairs and university general counsel also was approved by the regents yesterday. Her three-year appointment is effective Sept. 1.

Lendio has more than 20 years of trial and appellate litigation experience and currently is a partner in the law firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai Mac- Kinnon LLP.

She replaces former University General Counsel Walter Kirimitsu.

Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com.