Aug 022011

“The Sciences and Technology Building will attract scholarly teachers and researchers, which will encourage public and private agencies to partner with us to develop joint research and educational initiatives.” -Chancellor Donald Straney

Celebrating today are (L-R) Luoluo Hong, vice chancellor for student affairs; Gerald DeMello, director of university relations; Marcia Sakai, vice chancellor for administrative affairs; Kenny Simmons, vice chancellor for academic affairs; Donald Straney, chancellor; and Gail Makuakane-Lundin, executive assistant to the chancellor. Photo by Robbyn Peck

A blessing and dedication was held today for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo new Sciences and Technology Building.

UH Hilo's new Sciences and Technology Building. Photo by Robbyn Peck

“This facility will complement the Big Island’s living, learning laboratory by significantly enhancing student learning, teaching and research,” said Chancellor Donald Straney. “It will also attract scholarly teachers and researchers, which will encourage public and private agencies to partner with us to develop joint research and educational initiatives.”

The $25 million building, spans more than 42,000 square feet and fulfills the need for additional classrooms, office space and new state-of-the-art laboratories for UH Hilo’s expanding physics, astronomy and chemistry programs. Key features include an auditorium that seats in excess of 140, along with smaller rooms of 60 and 24 seats.

In addition to the tenant programs, the building’s facilities will accommodate classes in biology, math, geography, history and communication. Based on projections, the building will serve more than 1,700 students in various classroom venues daily.

UH President MRC Greewood (r) attended the event.

“This is a game changer for the programs that will take up residence in the new building,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Randy Hirokawa. “Their growth helped fuel our enrollment gains dating back to the late 1990s. Now they will have the state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories they need to not only maintain their level of excellence, but step up to the next level.”

The event was attended by a host of elected state, county and university officials, including Governor Neil Abercrombie and UH President M.R.C. Greenwood. Abercrombie’s appearance marked his first official visit to UH Hilo since being elected governor last year and underscored his support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and professional workforce development in Hawaiʻi.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and Senator Malama Solomon untie the maile at the doors of the new Sciences and Technology Building during today's blessing ceremonies. (L-R) UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney, UH President MRC Greenwood, Gov. Abercrombie, Sen. Solomon, Rep. Jerry Chang, and Sen. Gil Kahele. Photo by Robbyn Peck.

“Governor Abercrombie has made it clear in public statements that he sees the Big Island as one of the state’s key economic engines for the next decade, with UH Hilo playing a leading role,” said University Relations Director Gerald De Mello. “STEM education will be critical to the success of that effort and this building provides us with the cutting edge tools to deliver the quality of learning necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

More photos!


Audio of Chancellor Straney’s remarks (excerpt) at the event from Hawaii Public Radio

After more than a decade of planning and development,  University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s latest expansion targets science and technology. HPR’s Sherry Bracken tells us at the blessing, Governor Neil Abercrombie said this building will take UH-Hilo to a new level. Thanks to Dave Corrigan and Big Island Video News for the audio for this report.

audio file: