Former PBS Hawaii building source of growing dispute at UH

Former PBS Hawaii building source of growing dispute at UH
Published: Feb. 8, 2017 at 8:01 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2017 at 10:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's a battle brewing over what the University of Hawaii should do with the former home of PBS Hawaii.

The former KHET building, at the corner of University Avenue and Dole Street, is in a prime spot.

And the Academy for Creative Media, which offers classes in digital cinema, computer animation and critical studies, had hoped to make the building its new headquarters.

Associate Professor Joel Moffett says ACM was promised the site once PBS Hawaii moved out, which it did last May.

But, Moffett said, "As soon as they moved out, we began our move in. And suddenly we were blindsided" when they were told to put their move-in on hold.

And now, Moffett said, UH President David Lassner won't meet with him on the building's future.

But UH administrators dispute the claims.

Michael Bruno, UH-Manoa's interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, told Hawaii News Now that the property's location makes it a coveted asset for the university.

"Honestly, I think that's an unfair assessment by the faculty member and it's unfortunate that it's come to this," he said, adding, "It's possibly the most prominent piece of property on campus."

But he also said the building's condition is still being assessed and that significant work needs to be done.

Meanwhile, Moffett says he's asking lawmakers this session for $3 million for repairs to the building; that's something UH is opposing.

"Resources, significant resources would need to be made available, well exceeding $3 million," Bruno said.

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