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Kealakehe Site Chosen for New Kona Courthouse

March 30, 2012, 1:38 PM HST
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A location across the street from the West Hawaii Civic Center has been chosen as the site for the new Kona courthouse.

Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald made the announcement today.

The location, one of seven possible sites studied in an environmental impact statement accepted last month by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, is a 10-acre parcel owned by the state at the intersection of Kealakehe Parkway and Ana Keohokalole Highway.

The judiciary complex will be designed to accommodate seven full-time judges and 220 employees to meet the needs of West Hawaii’s growing population through at least 2030, a statement from the state judiciary said.

“A new courthouse in West Hawaii is badly needed, “Recktenwald said. “The Kealakehe site will allow the Judiciary to consolidate its operations in a modern facility that will best serve the people of West Hawaii.”

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Construction on the 142,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin in 2014 and be completed by 2017. The anticipated cost is $90.7 million, according to the final EIS.

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The environmental study noted that court facilities in West Hawaii, and specifically within the Kona area, are “grossly inadequate” for current needs. Court proceedings in Kona currently take place in three locations, some more than a dozen miles apart.

The EIS noted that one of Kona’s two courtrooms is in a converted hospital built in 1939 that lacks even a separate entrance for prisoners, who must be brought in through the same entrance used by the public.

 

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