Funding Moving Ahead for College of Pharmacy Building
by Dave Smith
University of Hawaii at Hilo officials say they are encouraged that this could be the year funding is secured for a permanent home for the university’s pharmacy school.
The state House in early March approved nearly $32 million for a new building for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, which currently operates out of temporary facilities.
On Monday, the Senate passed its version of the state’s supplemental budget which contained a similar appropriation for the project.
That was welcome news for UH-Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney.
“I’m really gratified that both houses have put it in their budget,” Straney said Tuesday.
Efforts to obtain the funding in 2013 failed despite an intense lobbying campaign by the University of Hawaii system and community supporters.
On Tuesday, House leadership indicated disagreement with the Senate’s version of the budget bill, House Bill 1700, which means that differences must be ironed out in conference committee.
The College of Pharmacy funding is not likely to be a major roadblock in the negotiations, as the House and Senate versions are only $1 apart.
However, conference committee members will have to agree on the differing types of bonds each body has earmarked for funding the project.
The House has proposed to use a combination of general funds and revenue bonds for the appropriation, while the Senate’s version involves using mostly general obligation bonds.
Meanwhile, the Senate on Monday also boosted an appropriation for a new Kona courthouse.
On March 12, the House approved a supplemental budget bill containing $40 million for a West Hawaii facility to combine judiciary functions currently spread among three separate locations.
Kona Rep. Nicole Lowen had earlier said House members hoped that the Senate would increase the funding.
The Senate’s version of the Judiciary spending plan contains $90 million for a new courthouse, which is the amount sought by the state Judiciary.
However, since the House indicated Tuesday that it disagreed with Senate changes, that bill is also headed to conference.