Monday, October 19, 2015
Land Dispute Between State Hospital, WCC Remains On Kaneohe Neighborhood Board Radar
The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board will seek more information from the state Department of Health about a proposal to expand the Hawaii State Hospital on land sought by Windward Community College.
The Neighborhood Board voted on October 15 to ask the Health Department to provide a status update on the project. (To review the meeting minutes, click on this link.)
The land dispute involves two of the Kaneohe area’s largest employers. Neighborhood Board members Bill Sager and John Flanigan filed a report with the Board about the issue in September.
During the Board meeting, Windward CC Chancellor Doug Dykstra told the Board that the hospital did not have permits to demolish a building and build on land covered by the state’s historic preservation rules. He attributed the information to the state Historic Preservation Division. The Health Department has said that it does have the permits.
The State Hospital wants to use the disputed land to build a 250-bed long-term-care facility. That would happen after demolition of the historic Bishop Building, which once served patients but now is abandoned and in disrepair. The project is part of a larger effort to expand capacity, reduce chronic overcrowding and provide service for those who are committed to state care because of severe mental illness.
The college says the site for the new facility is part of a parcel, called the Great Lawn, which WCC views as the logical area for its growth. The college has offered 5.5 acres it owns in exchange for the 5 acres targeted for the new hospital facility. The exchange parcel is next to Windward Oahu Mental Health.
The Health Department has said that shifting the long-term care project to a new parcel would set construction back several years and further delay care for a vulnerable population.
Chancellor Dykstra told the Neighborhood Board that if the land exchange was approved, the college would rehabilitate and reopen the Bishop Building to house the Hakipu’u Learning Center, a charter school that works closely with WCC. He said the College also would build a facility on the site for business and information technology programs, while preserving the historic character of the Great Lawn.
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