Sneak peek at $133 million Kapolei Court Complex - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Sneak peek at $133 million Kapolei Court Complex

Christina Uebelein Christina Uebelein
David Bylund David Bylund

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the Kapolei Court Complex, a state-of-the-art facility that will serve as the new home for Family Court, Waianae District Court and a Juvenile Detention Center.

The dream began two decades ago and ground was finally broken in 2007. Now, nearly three years later, project officials say the $133.4 million job is on time and on budget.

Boasting stained-glass windows inspired by a West Oahu beach and exterior walls that honor ancient Hawaiian culture, it's clear this is not your average courthouse.

"This is one of the more complex court buildings you'll find," Christina Uebelein, state Judiciary project manager, said.

Project officials say they involved judges, judiciary staff and members of the community in the design of the Kapolei Court Complex to produce a facility that will be both functional and approachable.

"People come and they may not be relaxed. It can be kind of tense in a court," David Bylund, Architects Hawaii, said. "So the design in many ways, every decision, is about how to assist folks who need to use this building."

The public will be able to access services relating to divorce and child custody, temporary restraining orders, and misdemeanor and traffic offenses. The courtrooms upstairs feature cameras and microphones to digitally record proceedings, and monitors throughout for easy viewing of evidence and exhibits.

Detainees will move to and from their holding cells privately and securely.

"We have not only state-of-the-art court technology, but we have a very robust security system," Uebelein said.

But there were some challenges.

"This project was being developed when construction costs in Hawaii were going through the roof," Bylund said. "So from the start, we were defining what the project needed to be, testing what it would cost, then we would adjust the design."

To lower costs, project officials reduced the number of courtrooms. The number of non-jury courtrooms remained the same at 12, but the number of courtrooms that could accommodate jurors was cut back from eight to just one.

They also scaled back the Juvenile Detention Center from 78 beds to 66.

Judiciary officials expect additional savings ahead.

"We're moving other people from other leased places around Honolulu back into a court building," Uebelein said. "So we're saving money by dropping those leases."

The Juvenile Detention Center is already being used. The staff at Waianae District Court will be the next to move in in about two weeks.

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