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Design phase completed for new UH Hilo College of Pharmacy building

“When you consider the data from the economic impact study that shows the college brings in more than $50 million a year to the state, there’s no question that this is an investment that will more than pay for itself virtually in no time.” –State Representative Clift Tsuji

The design phase is completed for a new state-of-the-art building for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s College of Pharmacy.

“We cannot overstate the importance of this building to Hawaiʻi’s future as the hub of health care and discovery,” said John Pezzuto, dean of the college. “It will also allow us to give our students the best possible professional pharmacy education and move forward with accreditation.”

WCIT Architecture of Honolulu designed the building, which will cost an estimated $66 million. In 2010, WCIT won an architecture award for the design of UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikolani College of Hawaiian Language building.

WCIT President Rob Iopa said the design approach blends environment, place and architecture unique to the needs of the College of Pharmacy yet within the framework of other buildings on campus.

“WCIT Architecture has done a beautiful job designing the Hawaiian languages building, but I want to stress we are not just looking for window dressing,” said Debra Fitzsimons, vice chancellor for administrative affairs. “I’m confident their design of the College of Pharmacy will complement our existing structures on the UH Hilo campus while giving them the proper educational vessel they require.”

The design phase was funded in part by $5.5 million from the state in 2009. Funds are now being sought from the state and others for construction. During a recent site visit, a group from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the national accrediting agency responsible for pharmacy schools, said the lack of a permanent building for the college is a serious concern.

Pezzuto said the cost of construction is more than offset by the economic benefits the college brings to the state of Hawaiʻi. State Representative Clift Tsuji agrees.

“When you consider the data from the economic impact study that shows the college brings in more than $50 million a year to the state, there’s no question that this is an investment that will more than pay for itself virtually in no time,” said Tsuji (D-South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown).

The new pharmacy college facilities will be located on campus at the corner of Komohana and Nowelo streets.

UH Hilo’s College of Pharmacy is the only school of pharmacy in the Pacific region.