CIP funding released: Jail expansion, school improvements to move forward

  • CEO Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita stands outside the Big Island Substance Abuse Council office in Keaau. Gov. David Ige recently released $100,000 to the Big Island Substance Abuse Council for the construction of a behavioral health campus in Keaau. (Photos by Kelsey Walling/Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

  • Gov. David Ige recently released $3.25 million for construction of a perimeter fence at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, a $3.51 million project. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A corrections officer watches the front entrance of Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo on June 1.

The state Wednesday released more than $55 million in capital improvement project funds for a variety of Big Island projects, including millions for a new housing unit at Hawaii Community Correctional Center and Konawaena High School for track and field improvements.

Some $5.79 million will go toward construction of a new medium security housing unit at Hawaii Community Correctional Center that will alleviate overcrowding at the Hilo jail.

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The facility, built in 1975, currently has a design capacity of 206 beds and operational capacity of 226. As of Monday, the facility housed 278 persons, which is 123% of design capacity.

The project, expected to cost about $20.8 million, will provide an additional 140 beds and is slated to be complete in January 2023, according to a press release from Gov. David Ige’s office announcing the release of some $601.9 million for capital improvement projects across the state.

“We are building on the efforts of previous years to enhance and rejuvenate a wide range of public infrastructure that is necessary for the well-being and safety of Hawaii’s residents,” Ige said. “As we continue to confront the challenges of COVID-19, we want to ensure that Hawaii has the resources to fill critical needs, as well as support opportunities and conservation efforts.”

Konawaena High School will receive $6.3 million to finance design and construction for track and field improvements at the South Kona school that opened 100 years ago. The project will also include a synthetic field and replacement of synthetic track, storage facility for field maintenance equipment, track storage in addition to ground and site improvements.

Other funding includes:

• Three allocations of $6 million, $280,000 and $120,000 for a new community center, two new parking lots and the relocation of the lower baseball field at Waiakea Uka Park;

• $15 million to Volcano School of Arts and Sciences for the construction of a new campus;

• $5 million for the design and construction of a girls’ athletic locker room at Waiakea High School;

• $3.8 million to the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. to initiate the second phase of a bathroom renovation project at Kona Community Hospital;

• $3.25 million for construction of a perimeter fence at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, a $3.51 million project;

• $2.1 million to finance land, design and construction for traffic improvements at various locations;

• $1 million to HHSC to the upgrade the reheat system at Kona Community Hospital;

• $1 million for the replacement of an ungulate extension fence on Maunakea;

• $835,000 to HHSC to upgrade the HVAC system in the sterile storage area at Kona Community Hospital;

• $800,000 to HHSC for additional construction funds to renovate and upgrade the lobby of Hilo Medical Center;

• $800,000 for the design of terminal fire sprinklers at Hilo International Airport;

• $650,000 toward the construction of a south ramp taxiway and ramp improvements at Kona International Airport, a $19.13 million project.

• $500,000 for the replacement of deteriorated wooden fenders at Wailoa Small Boat Harbor.

• $450,000 to design improvements at Honokaa High and Intermediate;

• $400,000 for the construction of a new fence on the cone at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve to protect native plants;

• $350,000 toward efforts to decommission the Hawi No. 5 reservoir;

• $300,000 to design improvements at Honokaa Elementary;

• $200,000 for the removal of hazardous structures at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve; and

• $100,000 to the Big Island Substance Abuse Council for the construction of a behavioral health campus in Keaau. Total project cost is $150,000.

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The Big Island allocations total $55,034,420.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter Stephanie Salmons contributed to this report.