KAPOLEI, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - After some 35 years without a permanent campus, UH-West Oahu gets a big boost from the state.
Governor Linda Lingle released $48-million dollars Friday. It will go toward construction of the UH campus in Kapolei.
Construction is set to begin next month. It's supposed to be completed in time for the fall of 2012.
It all started more than three decades ago. A plan to give West Oahu residents a better chance to get a higher education.
Especially since West Oahu adults have a 10 percent chance of attaining a bachelor's degree. That's compared to 22 percent for the rest of the state.
"It opens up a greater opportunity for higher education for thousands of students throughout West Oahu, from Kapolei to the Leeward Coast, to Pearl City, they're all going to be able to come to this new campus," UH-West Oahu Public Relations executive director Ryan Mielke said.
But this new campus was under a tight deadline. The James Campbell Company, who owns the land, gave it to the state for one purpose only. It was to build a university, with construction to begin no later than December 31st of 2011.
If not, the state would be forced to give them back those 200 acres.
But Governor Lingle erased that possibility and gave new hope to those in West Oahu.
Of the $48-million in construction money, nearly two-thirds of it or $31-million, will go toward building classroom, laboratory and maintenance buildings.
The rest is expected to fund a parking lot, sewer and water lines, driveways, electric power lines and other infrastructure.
"This is quite frankly a very good time to build, our construction workers are not as employed as they once were, this will provide more jobs, greater opportunity and more education for Kapolei," Mielke said.
The multi-phase project will eventually house more than 7,500 students, who may take part in 22 college programs.
"This process began 35 years ago and it began with community input, it began with great ideas to provide quality education for people of West Oahu, finally that dream is being put into reality," Mielke said.