Hale ʻAlahonua is the new student housing complex at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. The $32.5 million dollar structure is made up of three, three-story residential wings that house approximately 300 students, increasing on-campus housing by more than 30 percent. Each apartment has two, single-person bedrooms, a bathroom and an entry lounge.
“I like the privacy, that’s why I kind of wanted to live here,” said UH Hilo student Bree Kalima. “It’s individualized rooms and we just share a bathroom and a shower together, which I really like. I think it’s so beautiful.”
The residential wings are connected by a 9,500 square-foot, one story Student Life Common Area, which houses two kitchens, laundry facilities, study and conference rooms and a lounge.
“It’s catered to students who need time to study,” said Kalima. “There’s a lot of different study areas, a lot of places to sit down and enjoy.”
“It creates a new opportunity for our students to learn about each other and about themselves and to live while they learn. It really expands the facilities we have to challenge students to do their best,” said UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney.
At the dedication ceremony for Hale ʻAlahonua, the first new student housing project since 1989, government and university leaders stressed that this is just the first phase of a “University Village.” The next phase will be a campus related commercial center. University officials hope it will help create a college town ambience.
“We envision University Village in a large sense to be a place where the community and the campus come together,” said Straney.
New buildings on campus, for student services and the College of Hawaiian Language, are scheduled to open in 2014. Work will begin on a new home for the College of Pharmacy as soon as funding is secured.
“The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, in its entirety, is going to be a catalyst in this 21st century,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie at the dedication.
“The University of Hawaiʻi is not just the largest employer in East Hawaiʻi, it’s not just an incredible economic driver, but it is the hope of our future,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Our children, we know, with access to higher education, it’s the great equalizer of our society.”