University of Hawaii Project Aims to Make Hilo a More Residential Campus

by Katie Sloan

Hilo, Hawaii  — Phase one will wrap in 2013.

Hilo, Hawaii — A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 22 for University Village Phase I, a 300-unit student housing development on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The project is located on 33 acres fronting the university’s main entrance. It will feature apartments and suite-style residence halls.


The new units are the first to be built on campus since 1989, and are being financed by a $32 million appropriation of G.O. (General Obligation) and Revenue Bonds approved by the legislature. UH-Hilo currently has 600 housing units on campus serving an enrollment in excess of 4,100.


“This project will ensure our continued growth and development,” says Chancellor Don Straney. “We deeply appreciate the efforts of our Hawaii island legislators along with the support of Governor Neil Abercrombie that made this initiative possible.”


In addition to servicing the university’s growing enrollment, the new units will help create a supportive living-learning community. Students from the sophomore class and above will be housed in the new units, allowing the more centrally located housing on campus to be used for promising new student success initiatives, like a freshman village.


Phase I will be housed in a 105,500 square-foot complex occupying approximately five acres. The building will feature a trio of three-story residential wings comprised of two-bedroom units housing 302 students and a one-story common area that interlocks with two exterior courtyards. Other amenities will include a new parking lot and bike storage for residents.


The development was planned and designed by Mitsunaga and Associates, Inc. of Honolulu. Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc. has been selected as the general contractor for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2013.


Completion of Phase I will lay the groundwork for Phase II, a shared vision to develop a campus-related commercial center. This initiative, planned and developed by the private sector, will create the ambience of a college town that will complement both the university and Hilo community while creating economic activity that affords opportunities for small businesses as well as workforce development.


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