New College of Pharmacy building nears completion

  • Construction continues Wednesday on the University of Hawaii at Hilo's new Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy building,

HILO — University of Hawaii at Hilo pharmacy students will have a new home in the fall.

Construction of the new building for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy “is still moving forward,” said interim Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Kalei Rapoza, but its opening will be delayed a few months.

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“Due to installation and upgrade of A/V equipment, the opening of the building was pushed back from spring to fall 2019,” he said. “Completion to the point where we can begin moving in is pushed back to August, with overall completion of the project (finishing up landscaping, primarily) set for mid-late September.”

In December, Rapoza said completion and occupancy was anticipated for July after work was delayed because of the addition of upgraded audio and visual technology in the building — equipment previously removed from building plans because of financial constraints.

Rapoza said Friday there was no particular reason for the delay to August.

“There are some delays that arise in any project,” he said. “Everyone is working as hard as they can to get the building done as soon as they can while ensuring it is high quality for our students.”

According to Rapoza, the 44,969 square-foot facility sits on 4.5 acres.

The first level consists of lecture rooms, breakout rooms, a student lounge and restrooms, while the second level includes an administration suite with counsel offices, administrative and faculty offices, two bio-labs, a medication therapy management suite, mock pharmacy, resource center, two seminar rooms, consult rooms, laboratories and restrooms, he said.

The site also will include new surface parking stalls, landscaping and lighting.

The entire building will be utilized by the College of Pharmacy.

Since its inception more than a decade ago, the college has operated out of temporary sites while it struggled to secure funding for a permanent facility.

Lawmakers in 2014 authorized $33 million to fund the building, and after several years of delays and scaled-back budget requests the project was awarded to Isemoto Contracting Co. for $31.3 million in April 2016, with construction beginning that fall.

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Final cost for the project is approximately $33.6 million.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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