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UH selects Honolulu group to design permanent home for College of Pharmacy

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Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi named WCIT Architecture of Honolulu to design the building that will become the permanent home of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy. WCIT is working with the science and technology branch of SmithGroup to plan the structure that is intended to anchor the UH Hilo University Park of Science and Technology.

The building will be located at the corner of Komohana and Nowelo Streets, in close proximity to CoP's temporary headquarters on South `Aohoku Place. The site will bring together teaching, research, study, administrative and faculty office spaces that are currently distributed across seven different sites on the UH Hilo campus and the Hilo community.

“This building will be the visual cornerstone of one entrance to UH Hilo so it needs to reflect our place and pay respect to our location on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi,” said Gerald DeMello, UH Hilo director of university relations. “We have every confidence in this team of architects to be able to honor the traditions of our host culture. We expect nothing less than the kind of building that will serve the island 'ohana as well as provide a base to build a one-of-a-kind, top-rated pharmacy school.”

In October, Governor Linda Lingle released $5.5 million for the planning and design of a permanent building, and the state legislature approved the funding earlier last year. UH Hilo is in the process of finding funding for construction of the building, which has an anticipated cost of $66 million. If all goes as planned, the building will be complete in three and a half years.

“By the time this year's new pharmacy students graduate in 2014, we could be planning new research and developing classes in a new building for the next generation of pharmacists,” said Dr. John M. Pezzuto, dean of the College of Pharmacy. “With input from our faculty and administrators, advisors and supporters, we're putting together a plan that will help us meet our goal to be a Top-25 ranked College of Pharmacy. We're very grateful to the legislature for approving the funding for this portion of the design and planning. We know there's a lot of hard work ahead, but this is a very exciting time in our history.”

Debra Fitzsimons, vice chancellor for administrative affairs, said she is delighted to witness the tremendous growth and progress of the College of Pharmacy.

“The College of Pharmacy has demonstrated the true potential of our campus in Hilo,” Fitzsimons said. “In addition to serving the health care needs of our citizens, it serves as an economic engine for the community and State. Construction of this facility will allow them to achieve their mission. We are all very proud.”

Vice Chancellor Philip Castille said, “In the new College of Pharmacy building, UH Hilo students will have access to high level technology in the classroom like never before. This type of education and research experience can only serve to offer the best preparation for the job
market, and we're excited to be on the forefront of creating one of the best health sciences facilities in the nation.”

Space needs call for a 60,000 gross square feet building that will include two 120-seat lecture halls, 14 study rooms, a compounding/dispensing laboratory, a laboratory for simulation mannequins with an additional six beds to create a mini-patient ward, a working dispensing pharmacy to service student pharmacy needs on campus and to serve as an experiential practice site for Pharmacy students, an Institutional Pharmacy with sterile preparations laboratory, fully equipped research laboratories, a vivarium, and office space for the administration, 47 faculty, postgraduate students, residents and post-doctoral associates.

“We know architecture, we know Hawaiʻi,” said Rob Iopa, lead architect on the project and president of WCIT Architecture, an international architecture firm specializing in luxury resort, residential, and mixed-use design and development. “Our partners at SmithGroup draw on more than five decades of laboratory planning and design. We will be looking at trends in health sciences while remaining respectful to the community-at-large. Our group has perfect balance and all of the expertise required to bring this project to fruition.”

SmithGroup has designed space for many of the country's leading research institutions, including General Electric, Eli Lilly, and the new Science & Technology Facility at the National Renewable Research Laboratory in Colorado. Some of WCIT's projects include Starwood Vacation Ownership's Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort, Sheraton Keauhou Resort and Spa, Sheraton Waikiki Hotel & Resort, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences at Kapalua Bay, Kauai Lagoons Resort, Honua Kai, The Villas at Royal Lahaina and a newly completed renovation at the Sheraton Waikiki hotel.

The College of Pharmacy has admitted students for the last four academic years, sharing classrooms and laboratories with other departments at UH Hilo, and more recently populating modular facilities. There are now 351 students and 68 faculty and staff. In planning for the permanent facility, it is projected more than 650 persons will be affiliated with the College.

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