New research facility to study volcanoes and earthquakes planned for UH Hilo campus

The 60,000-square-foot Integrated Research Center will bring together staff from both the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and the Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center to study hazards from active volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai’i.

By Susan Enright

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory sign
Sign for the old Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Ken Lund.

Plans are underway for a new research facility on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus to jointly house the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) and the Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center (PIERC).

The 60,000-square-foot Integrated Research Center will bring together staff from both HVO and PIERC to monitor, investigate, and assess hazards from active volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai‘i. The collaboration will provide the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support and implement sound management and conservation of biological resources in Hawai‘i and other Pacific island locations.

“At UH Hilo, we are honored to host HVO on our campus and excited about the benefits that this partnership can have for our students, who will be able to interact with HVO and PIERC staff and envision careers in the earth sciences,” says UH Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin.

Architectural firm AHL has been selected as architect by the U.S. Geological Survey to design the UH Hilo facility. A related 13,000-square-foot field station is being built in Volcano National Park. Designed and constructed on separate sites, the laboratory, administration, and support facilities are being planned concurrently to support USGS’s mission to enrich the Hawai‘i Island research community.

“We are honored to be chosen to design these significant projects that are exciting and have a mission that resonates with us,” says Nathan Saint Clare, AHL principal-in-charge.  “We plan to provide state-of-the-art facilities that will enrich the Hawai‘i Island research community for years to come.”

 

Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.