HVNP visitor center could temporarily close in September

The Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park could close in September for renovations, expansion. (Courtesy Photo/ HVNP)

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh is shown,in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo/ HVNP)

Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park could close as early as this September for renovations and expansion, and the adjacent parking will be limited during construction.

The project contract is expected to go out for bid in July, and if awarded next month, construction could begin in September, according to an HVNP press release. Once the contract is awarded, the work is expected to take up to two years to complete.

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“What this means for visitors is the complete closure of Kilauea Visitor Center, including the restrooms, water station, and sidewalks around the building,” the press release stated. “Visitors should expect limited parking at KVC, along Crater Rim Drive West, and reduced services.”

Once KVC closes, programs such as After Dark in the Park and Na Leo Manu will be suspended until the center reopens.

Limited visitor services and the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association store will relocate to a temporary visitor contact station adjacent to the historic ballfield near Kilauea Military Camp.

Volcano House and the Volcano Art Center Gallery will remain open during the project.

Park managers will share details about the renovation and expansion at an After Dark in the Park program at 7 p.m. on Aug. 20 in the Kilauea Visitor Center auditorium.

“As a result of the loss of Jaggar Museum due to the 2018 summit collapse of Kilauea volcano, the existing Kilauea Visitor Center is too small to meet the needs of current and future park visitors,” said HNVP Superintendent Rhonda Loh in the press release. “The renovation of KVC will provide expanded outdoor and indoor spaces for new exhibits that convey the rich geology, biology and Hawaiian culture that define Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.”

Although September is the soonest the visitor center would close, a delayed start date is possible, according to HVNP. The park will continue to notify the public through news releases, social media and its website. Construction closures and delays are regularly updated on the park’s construction webpage at https://tinyurl.com/3r6mnw5n.