Paki Hale work is done, but next step is uncertain
By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer
By Mary Vorsino
A three-year, problem-plagued renovation of the early 1900s-era former home at Kapi'olani Park known as Paki Hale is finished, and city officials are now trying to decide what to do with the space.
The three-story facility dedicated to the city in 1992 has been sorely missed as a gathering place in Waikiki.
Les Chang, director of the city Parks and Recreation Department, said yesterday there is no official reopening date for Paki Hale and it's still unclear what the facility will be used for. It likely will still be available as a meeting place for community groups, he said, noting that there could also be offices in the basement and elsewhere.
There are no plans to turn it into a "party place," Chang said.
"It's a beautiful house — it's just a nice place to have," he said. "We can't let people have just free access. We have to figure out how we are going to maintain it."
Wayne Gau, a district vice chairman of the Diamond Head Neighborhood Board, hopes Paki Hale will again serve as a neighborhood group gathering place. "I know the hall was very heavily used by ... all kinds of committees and other groups," Gau said, adding that "we are no longer able to have committee meetings for our neighborhood board because we no longer have a place."
The city spent $361,807 to renovate Paki Hale. Initially, work in November 2003 was set to cover only minor upgrades, including door replacements, electrical work and refinishing. But when contractors got to the site, they found several major leaks.
Water damage spurred rampant mold growth, which was discovered in June 2004. "The unanticipated mold ... had to be removed for health reasons and impacted the construction schedule," said city spokesman Bill Brennan.
Later, workers found the ravages of years of termite damage in the building. Additional money for the project was appropriated in June 2005, Brennan said. By December, all the termite and water damage work was completed.
The last hurdle for contractors was replacing doors at Paki Hale. Doors ordered from the Mainland at the end of 2005 arrived in February. They were installed in April, and city officials did a walk-through of the building shortly afterward, Brennan said.
In August, the meeting hall's interior walls were painted, and Paki Hale was handed back to the city parks department this month.
Chang said the city will also likely replace the carpet, which was not touched during the renovations, on one story in Paki Hale.
Reach Mary Vorsino at firstname.lastname@example.org.