Where will money for UH go?

Amber Nakasone
Amber Nakasone
Gregg Takayama
Gregg Takayama

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) - The Governor released $60 million for improvements at University of Hawaii campuses across the state.

It sounds like a lot of money, but in reality, the schools will fall further behind in keeping up its campuses.

It's back to school, and for students at the University of Hawaii, it's back to the same old classrooms. At Manoa, we're talking old, some have been here over half a century.

"They are kinda run down and the AC never works," said Amber Nakasone, a psychology major.

UH is getting millions of dollars for repairs and renovations on campus but it will not be enough.

"Manoa gets about $40 million but it takes $50-$60 million to keep up with our repair and maintenance list," said UH Spokesperson, Gregg Takayama.

Which means more of the buildings on campus will be added to the $300 million list of backlogged projects.

At Manoa, they'd like to add a new classroom building because the old one is over 40 years old. But all the money they get goes to make sure the current buildings remain standing.

Tuition for students went up again this year but none of that additional money will go toward building repairs.

"A large amount of our tuition revenue is to pay for utilities. The electricity bill has gone up by leaps and bounds," said Takayama.

So students are left to learn in less than ideal conditions.

"Some of the instruments are a little dated and most of the time they work," said Kathlyn Palas, a chemistry major.

While the new school year has begun, no new construction on classrooms or laboratories will take place this year. Which would have eliminated some of the distractions of the old Manoa campus.

"If we had new classrooms, you wouldn't be distracted by what it looks like or the temperature. And you can focus on the what the teacher is saying," said Nakasone.

At Manoa, they will be addressing some of the air conditioning problems this year by installing new energy efficient units.

Which will not only keep students cooler but also save the school money in the long run.