Leeward CC Welcomes New LEED Building

Sharing Notes …Sen. Michelle Kidani

New Education Building For Leeward CC

Students at Leeward Community College are starting the new semester with a beautiful new building that promises to become a campus focal point and true source of pride for its growing student body. The Education Building — with a Hawaiian descriptor, Ka ‘Ime ‘Ike, the Search for Knowledge — was officially dedicated about three weeks ago.

Attending the ceremony had double significance for me. I attended classes at Leeward, and so I have a special connection with the campus, and it’s always fun to return and reminisce. But I also worked hard in our Senate Ways and Means Committee during the budgeting process at the Legislature to make sure the final $20 million in funding was in place in 2011 so that construction could get underway.

The new building was first conceptualized as a social sciences center way back in the 1990s as part of LCC’s Long Range Development Plan. Over the years, the focus shifted to teacher education. The idea was that an augmented teacher training program could do a lot to help educate teachers who would be prepared to start their careers in West Oahu areas where teacher adaptation and retention have been a challenge.

The 24,000 square feet of usable space includes eight classrooms, a lecture hall, a student resource center, faculty offices, academic support services and student-faculty meeting, learning and teaching spaces.

Leeward Community College now has a new education building. Photo courtesy Sen. Kidani's office.

Leeward Community College now has a new education building. Photo courtesy Sen. Kidani’s office.

From a design perspective, Ka ‘Ime ‘Ike is a gem. It was planned and built to meet energy and sustainability standards of the U.S. Green Building Council, demonstrating Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) best practices. Design elements and features include photovoltaic panels, rainwater collection and reclamation for irrigation purposes, water bottle refilling stations, the use of natural lighting, solar tubes and sun shields, and a hybrid air-conditioning system that integrates the use of natural ventilation. The building serves as a wonderful model for future UH building projects.

But even as this brand-new building is opened for use, virtually all of the campuses in our public school system still rely on “portable” classrooms that are supposed to provide temporary overflow space. The state has just released nearly $40 million for various projects at UH campuses statewide, including health and safety improvements. And in one specific case, there are funds to renovate the portable structures at the Diamond Head end of the LCC campus that served for a few years as the temporary home to UH West Oahu before the new Kapolei campus was inaugurated.

Funds available for a number of local projects

Funds for some other projects in the West Oahu area are now available:

* $355,000 to add an additional left-turn lane from Lumiaina Street in Waikele onto Kamehameha Highway

* $550,000 for Waipahu Elementary School for construction of a paved overflow parking lot and to refurbish the school’s play court that has deteriorated

Contracts awarded for construction include:

* $227,777 to HSI Mechanical to replace the library air conditioning system at Kaleiopuu Elementary School

* $289,568 to Allied Pacific Builders for covered walkways at Kanoelani Elementary School.

As our West Oahu families and students settle into the routine of the new school year, we are working to assure that campus learning environments are safe, secure and as up-to-date as possible.

Contact Sen. Michelle Kidani, D-District 18 (Village Park, Waikele, Royal Kunia, Mililani Town and most of Waipio Gentry) at the State Capitol, room 228, 586-7100, or email her at senkidani@capitol.hawaii.gov.