$19 Million University Classroom Building Dedicated

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642
Director of Media Relations
Posted: Jan 17, 2003

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo today formally dedicated its new University Classroom Building. The ceremony marked the official completion of the three-story complex, which represents an important step forward in the University‘s development as a comprehensive, full-service university.

"Today is a banner day for the University of Hawai'i at Hilo," said Chancellor Rose Tseng. "The building we dedicate today marks an important new chapter - - - dare I say milestone, in this university‘s storied history."

Located at the main Kawili Street entrance, the $19 million facility enhances the University‘s image by greeting campus visitors as its signature building.

"This ultra-modern 21st century piece of architecture re-inforces the message that UH Hilo is a quality university poised to meet the bold challenges of the future," Tseng said. "Now we have modern state-of-the-art facilities and teaching tools that will enable us to not only maintain our commitment to excellence, but to take it to the next level."

As the first new major building on campus in 20 years, the facility also helps UH Hilo fulfill a major objective in the Universityʻs Strategic Plan by providing additional space for expansion.

"We were literally bursting at the seams," said Dr. Jack Whittaker, vice chancellor for administrative affairs. "There was a serious need for more classroom and office space, and this building goes a long way toward easing those growing pains."

The 85,000 square-foot building houses numerous state-of-the-art teaching accommodations. These include a 150-seat tiered lecture hall, six multi-media tiered classrooms equipped with distance education control and support facilities, seven special classroom/teaching labs, five computer/electronic classrooms, an information display room and more than 60 offices, conference rooms and support facilities.

Among the offices now located in the building are the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Social Sciences Division, along with the Education, History, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology departments.

Faculty members who have relocated to the new building believe the complex and its classrooms benefit everyone who teaches here. Dr. Rick Castberg, professor of political science, says the modernized classrooms make it possible to stay current with law and political courses that are constantly changing.

"The electronic aids enables us to access Web sites and project articles, charts and other materials that cannot be found in textbooks. I was able to display the 25 safest and 25 most dangerous cities from a study that came out only a day earlier," Castberg said. "And our mock courtroom is not only a showplace, but an ideal setting for law-related courses and our Model United Nations class."

Another program benefiting tremendously from the new facilities is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Associate Professor Cecilia Mukai has been blessed with a practice lab complete with some of the best equipment available.

"We have four rooms that simulate the different practice environments that nurses are involved in: acute care hospitals; intensive care departments; doctor's offices; and home care, Mukai said. "Add to these items a pulse-oximeter, a cardiac monitor, iv poles, sphygmomanometers, heart and lung sound simulators, a hoyer lift, new beds, etc. and you will find that we have a pretty well equipped new lab."

The new complex was designed by Kajioka, Yamachi Architects, and constructed by Dick Pacific Construction Co., Ltd.