State breaks ground on new Kona courthouse

State breaks ground on new Kona courthouse
Rendering (Image: Hawaii State Judiciary)
Rendering (Image: Hawaii State Judiciary)

By Ryan Lothspeich
HNN Fall Intern

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -- Some 200 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the new Kona courthouse.

The three-story, 140,000-square-foot complex will sit on 10 acres in Keahuolu, and include five courtrooms, a law library self-help center, conference rooms, holding cells, witness rooms, attorney interview rooms and a grand jury meeting room.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.

The complex will house civil, criminal and family court systems personnel and proceedings.

Currently, those proceedings are held in three different buildings in Kona.

"This is a momentous day for me, both professionally and personally," said Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, in a news release. "I was born in the courthouse where I work today -- it used to be the Old Kona Hospital. But the building is more than 75 years old and we need to be able to provide the infrastructure to deliver justice for generations to come. This groundbreaking symbolizes the future, while bringing with us the solid foundation we have built thus far."

The state Legislature appropriated $90 million for the project and the building's design is environmentally-efficient.

"This would not be possible without the support of the Legislature and Governor David Ige," said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. "These partners were key to providing this much needed courthouse to the people of West Hawaii. Because of their commitment, the people of West Hawaii will have a courthouse that will support our justice system in this community for many, many years to come."

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