Construction approvedfor BYU-Hawaii campus

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    By DAN BLAKE

    After 17 years of having major construction projects blocked, BYU-Hawaii can move ahead with construction after the Honolulu City Council approved BYU-Hawaii’s five-year master plan Wednesday.

    “This is truly a great day in BYU-Hawaii’s history and a huge step forward to guaranteeing that the university will continue to offer … the best possible education,” said BYU-Hawaii President Eric Shumway. “I applaud the city council for taking such positive action.”

    The five-year plan was part of a Plan Review Use application that Hawaii’s four universities are required to submit for city council approval, said Kirk Evans, vice president for administrative services at BYU-Hawaii.

    The plan includes 15 projects that will provide for the university’s needs all over its campus, according to a news release. Some important projects include expanding the McKay Auditorium for fine arts performances, increasing on-campus housing, and adding on to the library.

    “Everyone … has been anxiously waiting for the time when we can begin moving ahead on improvements that are long overdue and reflect the needs of our student body,” Shumway said. “That time has finally arrived.”

    The university had been unable to begin any major construction projects because of Hawaii’s stringent drainage and sewage policies, Evans said.

    The addition of new buildings can lead to flooding in nearby areas, and citizens of the community want to ensure the university is doing everything it can to prevent this, Evans said. The university worked with the community to solve BYU-Hawaii’s drainage and sewage problems to avoid these potential problems, Evans said.

    Shumway said the approval of a PRU is significant because the university has not been able to do any major construction since 1980.

    During the PRU application’s review process, it received uncontested support from community leaders. Hawaii Pacific University President Chatt Wright, Kahuku High School Principal Lea Albert, and Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board Chairman Sam Langi were among those who testified for the PRU, according to the news release.

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