East Hawaii News

State Moving to Add Land to UH-Hilo Campus

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The area of the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus is expected to grow by about 15% under a 7-year-old plan that is moving closer to execution.

In 2006, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the leasing of two parcels of state land bordering West Lanikaula Street to the university.

However, the action required the preparation of an environmental assessment, a draft of which was recently completed.

Since the land board action, a third, adjacent parcel that has been in use as a US Army Reserve facility has been added to the mix.

Together, the parcels would add 46.3 acres to the UH-Hilo campus. There are currently 312 acres under University of Hawaii control that consist of the main UH-Hilo campus, the University Park of Science and Technology and surrounding lands.

The Reserve parcel is still under Army control, but would be turned back over to the state after it is decommissioned. At that time the land board would take up the addition of the 3.7-acre lot to the UH-Hilo campus.

According to the draft EA prepared by Honolulu-based consultant PBR Hawaii, the use of the new campus area would not be determined until the university prepares a new long-range development plan. Its existing one has not been updated since 1996.

“Since 1996, the student population has grown and the addition of the proposed parcels will allow UHH to accommodate future student population growth,” the draft environmental assessment said.

A draft environmental impact statement for the updated long-range plan is expected to be released in late 2014.

The property is bisected by the Wailoa Flood Control Channel, and its eastern boundary runs along the path of the future Kapiolani Street extension.

A 30-day comment period started with the publishing of the draft EA on Monday, Oct. 21, on the state Office of Environmental Quality Control website.


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