East Hawaii News

Hilo Pharmacy School Exempt From UH Building Moratorium

November 27, 2013, 4:55 PM HST
* Updated December 2, 1:51 PM
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A three-year statewide freeze on new University of Hawaii building projects does not include the proposed new building for the University of Hawaii at Hilo pharmacy school.

UH officials confirmed that a permanent home for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy is among 13 projects exempted from the construction moratorium established last week by the university’s Board of Regents.

The new pharmacy school remains among the university system’s top priorities, said UH spokeswoman Jodi Leong.

The moratorium was established to concentrate funding on the university’s nearly half-billion-dollar backlog of repair and maintenance projects.

The exempted projects have already received the board’s approval.

UH-Hilo officials were disappointed this year when the state Legislature failed to fund the new building for the pharmacy school, which is currently being operated out of temporary facilities.

They and community leaders are also concerned about the possibility the school could lose its accreditation because of a lack of a permanent home, which prompted them to lobby state lawmakers extensively during the past session for funding.

The state Senate included $38 million for the new building which was left out of the House’s version of the state’s capital improvement plan.

UH-Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney said recently that in an attempt to win legislative approval, plans for the pharmacy school had been scaled back to $28 million.

However, UH officials this week said the project has been reduced to $33 million from the original $38 million.

The UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy – the only school for pharmacists in the Pacific – has been in existence for six years and graduated its first class in 2011. It currently has about 400 students enrolled.

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