Lawmakers explore new operations model for state-of-the-art performing arts center

Lawmakers explore public/private partnership for maintenance of school facility

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction is underway at Moanalua High School for a new $35 million performing arts center.

While some may be critical of that price tag, state lawmakers are looking at different ways to manage the facility that they say could actually bring in revenue.

They’re pursuing a public-private partnership in which a contractor would come in to maintain and operate the facility and the community would use the venue when the school’s not using it.

They are also worried that once the state-of-the-art facility is finished and ready to use, the Department of Education may not have the proper resources to maintain it.

“Nothing would be more sad than having this great $30 million plus facility built to service (not just this community but also the surrounding area) to have it fall into disrepair,” said state Rep. Aaron Johanson.

State Sen.Glenn Wakai is dreaming even bigger.

“Maybe the model would be to have the school control the facility for 60 percent of the year, and the contractor says for the other 40 percent we want to be able to sell it to theatrical shows, to community engagement events ... to whatever,” said Wakai.

The proposal is still very much exploratory at this point but Wakai says the Department of Education has been receptive so far.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.