Funds Released for Youth Challenge Academy Relocation
by Dave Smith
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $5.9 million for improvements at the Keaukaha Military Reservation to accommodate the relocation of the Hawaii National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy.
One of the academy’s campuses is currently located at the former Kulani Correctional Facility on the slopes of Mauna Loa, but is being moved to the reservation near Hilo’s airport to allow the state to reopen the former minimum-security prison.
The funding will be used to construct a 100-person billet to house the cadets and to renovate another building with the addition of restrooms and other infrastructure improvements.
The academy, which provides a five-month residential program for 17- and 18-year-olds, also operates a campus at Kalaeloa on Oahu.
The academy teaches military discipline and “life skills” as an alternative for traditional high school, and helps cadets obtain GED diplomas.
The program’s website describes it as “22 weeks of tough love filled with pride!”
A class of 78 cadets graduated in June.
The funding was part of nearly $13 million the governor released today for capital improvement projects statewide.
That included $4 million for upgrades to other National Guard infrastructure and $2.2 million for health facilities. Among the latter was $75,000 for completion of an energy audit and installation of energy-saving equipment at Hale Ho`ola Hamakua, a long-term care facility in Honoka`a formerly known as Honoka`a Hospital.