UH president seeks solutions to backlogged repairs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UH president seeks solutions to backlogged repairs

The microbiology labs and classrooms in UH's Synder Hall are more than a half century old. The microbiology labs and classrooms in UH's Synder Hall are more than a half century old.
Peeling building exterior Peeling building exterior
University of Hawaii President David Lassner University of Hawaii President David Lassner
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MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The microbiology labs and classrooms in UH's Synder Hall are more than a half century old.  Much of the equipment is either outdated or broken.

"We really need cold rooms.  We have one operational cold room in this building," said Associate Professor Stuart Donachie.

On Monday university President David Lassner personally took Hawaii News Now on a tour of the campus.  He showed us some of the most rundown buildings.  Lassner says it would cost $400 to $500 million to pay for needed renovations on the Manoa campus alone.

"This is a major initiative for the University of Hawaii. We're really committed to upgrade our facilities," said Lassner.

But to do that the school needs money.  Lassner says for many years that's been hard to come by.

"Over the past couple decades the university has been requesting money from the legislature and hasn't always received it.  In fact in general has not received enough to keep up with all of the needed repairs," said Lassner.

If the legislature can't provide funding.  The university wants lawmakers to let it float revenue bonds. The loans would be repaid with fees tacked on to student tuition.  The idea has been pitched before and shot down.

"Coming to some agreement over how we work together over a 10-year period or so is what we're looking for," said Lassner.

Within the last few years the university completed a $15-million renovation of Edmonson Hall. 

"Kids have a modern environment where they can be excited to come to class and take advantage of the technology," said instructor Marguerite Butler.

Before the remodel it was in the same condition as Snyder Hall. 

Some students we talked to would be open to paying more for a high tech learning environment.

"I'm not talking a huge increase in tuition.  But maybe just a little bit more to make the facilities better," said Judy Le.

But most say no way.

"I already think it's kind of overpriced," said Elizabeth Vaea.

"I think our tuition is already high," said Gibson Jackson.

No word on exactly how much tuition could go up to pay for improvements that everyone can agree are long overdue.

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