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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 27, 2010

W. Hawaii Civic Center takes shape

By Erin Miller
West Hawaii Today

As David Lyman walked through the future West Hawai'i Civic Center Tuesday morning, construction workers placed a steel roofing frame on the last building at the project site.

Lyman made the point during a tour that the frame had not been there about 30 minutes earlier. It was, he said, an indication of how much, and how quickly, work is happening at the site.

"The project has taken off substantially," said Lyman, a county Department of Public Works projects coordinator. "We're still looking at completion of most of the buildings by the end of the year."

County departments could start moving in to the center by January, he added. That means the $50.5 million project, on 7.2 acres at the corner of Kealakehe Parkway and the under-construction Ane Keohokalole Highway, is within budget, as well as on time, Lyman and Public Works Director Warren Lee said.

Changes made so far include reducing the generator size from 500 kilowatt hours to 140 kilowatt hours, in part because Civil Defense officials decided against building an emergency operations center at the civic center and selected a different type and configuration of air conditioning units.

The civic center project nearly stalled several times in the last few years, most notably in 2008, when council members delayed a vote on a $114.6 million bond project to allow time for a public hearing on the bond.

County officials intended to use about $18 million from that bond for the civic center, plus about $30 million left from a previous bond sale.

Council members eventually approved the bond sale.

Former Mayor Harry Kim started the process to build a consolidated West Hawai'i county office early in his administration.