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Blessing for NHERC Phase II-A improvements

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Date: Thursday, May 22, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

A blessing ceremony was held today for the first of two Phase II improvements at the University of Hawaii at Hilo North Hawai`i Education and Research Center (NHERC).

The Center, located in the old Honoka`a hospital, serves as UH Hilo’s outreach center for the North Hawai`i region stretching from Laupahoehoe through the Hamakua Coast to Kohala and Waikoloa. Since opening two years ago, NHERC has become a valuable community resource and gathering place by offering introductory college courses, a wide variety of specialty classes sponsored by the Osher Life Long Learning Center, a speaker’s series, and hosting various special events, programs and conferences.

“We’re very pleased that so many people have utilized NHERC by participating in its various activities,” said Chancellor Rose Tseng. “With the addition of Phase II-A, we’ll be able to offer even more educational opportunitiesand enhance our partnership with the North Hawai`i community.”

NHERC’s current features include a computer lab, 20- and 30-seat classrooms, a distance learning lab, and 140-seat conference room, in addition to offices, a reception area and work space.

The Phase II-A improvements add more than 2,000 square-feet to NHERC’s overall operations, with additional 30- and 50-seat classrooms, five faculty offices, two storage rooms and a second set of restrooms.

Phase II-B is currently under construction and is designed to include three large rooms where a Heritage Center will be housed. Additional plans include the installation of an elevator and a water fountain, bringing the total cost of the Phase II improvements to $2.9 million.

“The Center has had a tremendous impact on North Hawai`i by establishing the higher education presence it previously lacked,” said State Representative Dwight Takamine, whose district houses the facility. “NHERC’s continued growth and development will be a big help to the community in meeting the challenges of Hawai`i’s economy in the 21st century.”

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