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Design-build team selected for MKAEC

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Date: Wednesday, August 7, 2002
Contact: George Jacob, (808) 933-3917

For Immediate Release

MKAEC Project Director George Jacob

Moving steadily ahead with the planning process for the $28 million University of Hawai`i at Hilo Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center (MKAEC), Project Director George Jacob today announced the selection of Taisei Construction Corporation, Durrant Media Five and Hilo-based Oda-McCarty Architects for design-build services.

"There are many moving parts to this effort and seven teams will be working on different aspects to bring this world-class interpretive center to fruition," Jacob said. "Design and construction of MKAEC, in line with the institutional mission, is vital to the project."

Taisei Construction Corporation and their partners have been involved with an impressive array of projects, including the Tokyo Stadium, Sapporo Dome, Tama Rokutu Science Center, Shinjuku Kyouiku Center, Fureai Science Center, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and in Hawai`i, the Bishop Museum Science Center, Wainaku Executive Center, UH Hilo Student Housing, and Subaru Telescope's base facility.

The MKAEC is tentatively scheduled to open in early 2005 in the University of Science and Technology Park, and will serve as the premier interpretative facility for the world's largest and finest collection of
operational astronomical observatories. The Center will include 26,000-square-feet of gallery space, classrooms, and a planetarium. There will be constant and direct communication with the observatories atop Mauna Kea, giving visitors and students worldwide unprecedented access to cutting-edge research in astronomy.

"MKAEC will showcase the coming together of science and culture in a compelling story of human exploration, perseverance and ingenuity in the relentless pursuit of knowledge and the journey of discovery," Jacob said. Senator Daniel K. Inouye has facilitated the appropriation of federal funds for construction Phases I & II totaling $12 million, covering 80 percent of the current project estimates. Additional federal funding is also being released to complete exhibition design and specialized equipment procurement.

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