UH Manoa buildings slated for major upgrades

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Some of the buildings on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus are more than 70 years old and need a makeover.

“This has not been touched except in pieces for decades and decades,” said Stephen Meder, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Physical Environment and Long Range Planning.

UH officials admit many buildings and classrooms in Manoa are in dire need of an overhaul.

“We need to be able to improve the comfort in the classroom to be really enhanced and functioning in this educational environment,” Meder said.

UH officials, along with the Board of Regents, took a walking tour of some of the buildings that are on the deferred maintenance list and are slated for major upgrades.

“So, there’s a lot of work that will be done. There’s ADA work, all the new surfaces. There will be changes to the inside for offices and classrooms,” Meder said.

Right now, UH spends $35 million a year for electricity, which comes out to a cost of $2,500 per student.

Plans are in the works to renovate some of the 70 main buildings and create a more environmentally sound and energy-efficient campus.

“We’re gonna use some of our own resources. We’ve been using some of our tuition and special fund accounts, hold over accounts. Now, admittedly, we’ve gone close to draining those,” UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple said.

Officials say improvements have to be made because some of the buildings could eventually lead to hazardous conditions like in 2007, when parts of Edmondson Hall went up in smoke after the building had an electrical malfunction. UH said the building was not able to meet the electrical needs for the science labs being held there.

“We’re doing so much more research than when they were originally designed that there probably are demands on there. And so that’s something we have to look at,” Apple said.

The goal is to tackle buildings on the deferred maintenance list and clear out the backlog, which could cost tens of millions of dollars.

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