East Hawaii News

Waiakea Health Center to Get New Roof

March 13, 2014, 4:10 PM HST
* Updated March 13, 4:11 PM
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An aging state health center in Hilo will get a new roof following the release of capital improvement funding.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the more than $64.7 million in funding approved in past legislative sessions will improve dozens of state facilities while stimulating the state economy with new construction projects.

The projects include $460,000 for new roofing and other improvements for most of the buildings at the Department of Health’s Waiakea Health Center on Kuawa Street.

Many of the buildings at the Department of Health facility are more than 50 years old. Photo by Dave Smith.

Many of the buildings at the Department of Health facility are more than 50 years old. Photo by Dave Smith.

The governor’s office said most of the center’s buildings are wooden and more than 50 years old and have sustained extensive termite damage.

Another $200,000 has been earmarked for renovations at Kulani Correctional Facility.

The funding is part of $2.4 million appropriated by the Legislature in 2013 for operating and other costs in the current fiscal year for re-starting the minimum-security prison located on 6,000-foot level on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Another $5 million was appropriated for fiscal year 2014-2015.

A new warden was selected in December for Kulani which is scheduled to reopen in July.

The prison is expected to eventually house 200 “community custody” inmates – those expected to be released within two to four years. That is also the same category of inmates as those being held at Hale Nani in Panaewa, which is the reintegration facility for Hawaii Community Correctional Center in Hilo.

The dormitories at Kulani Correctional Facility are shown in this view from the prison's watch tower. DPS photo.

The dormitories at Kulani Correctional Facility are shown in this view from the prison’s watch tower. DPS photo.

Kulani was closed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle in 2009 as a cost-cutting measure.

Abercrombie has said that bringing back 200 Hawaii prisoners currently held in private mainland prisons will save $5 million per year, money Abercrombie said he would rather spend in-state.

The CIP funding released Wednesday also includes $13.5 million for upgrades to the frame and other safety improvements at Aloha Stadium on Oahu.

Statewide projects include $7.5 million for improvements to radio system infrastructure, $6 million for fiber-optic cable landing stations for future submarine communication cables and $3.6 million of improvements to school facilities used as emergency shelters to make them more resistant to hurricanes.

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