Thursday, February 18, 2016

Kaneohe Neighborhood Board Supports Windward Community College In Dispute Over State Hospital

The Bishop Building is at the center of a dispute that could affect the future of Windward Community College and the Hawaii State Hospital.

The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board has voted to support Windward Community College in a disagreement over the location of a proposed mental health facility next to its campus.

The Board approved a resolution calling on the State Department of Health to negotiate a land exchange that would move the proposed facility to a larger parcel nearby. The land exchange would protect the historic Bishop Building, which the college would like to use for a charter school but is to be torn down to make way for the new facility.

The vote during the Board's February 18 meeting was 9-2, with two abstentions.

The vote came after a statement by Gov. David Ige’s chief of staff, Mike McCartney, supporting the Hospital’s plan and noting that the work needs to be done to fix problems related to serious overcrowding.

Proposed Facility Would Give Geriatric Care 

The proposed facility would provide psychiatric and nursing care for up to 50 State Hospital patients needing geriatric services. The patients would be discharged from the Hospital and transferred to the new facility, which would be financed, built and operated by privately owned Avalon Health Care Group. The transfers would free up beds to serve an expanding population of potentially violent patients.

Hospital Administrator William J. May told the Board that the Hospital is 90 patients over its 170-patient capacity and growing. Mr. May said a land swap would set back development of the long-term care facility by five to six years.

College Chancellor Defends Land Swap

College Chancellor Doug Dykstra told the Board that the Hospital can’t begin work on a key part of the project because it lacks state permission to demolish the Bishop Building. He also said past claims by the Health Department that it was ready to start work on the long-term care facility have not proved true. And he noted that the land swap would not affect plans to build a separate, expanded Hospital facility to handle potentially violent patients.

Mahealani Cypher
The resolution, which was introduced by Board Vice Chair Bill Sager, says the Health Department did not consider the possibility of a land exchange, which the college has offered on four occasions in the past five years.

Neighborhood Board member Mahealani Cypher said she believed that a land swap would raise costs for the State Hospital but that the costs could have been averted if the Hospital officials had talked with community members sooner. She said relocating the long-term care facility elsewhere was a better solution.

Learn More

More information about the issue is available from the sources listed below. Click on the highlighted text to access the information:
The hospital’s 2015 Master Plan Update.

Comments on this blog are welcomed. To add a comment, please click on the link below or contact Board members directly using our Member Directory. Also, please like us on Facebook and comment there.


Bill Sager said...

Hawaii State Hospital Master Plan

Summarize current status Of the master plan

Gov. Lingle held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the long-term care facility in 2010.

I have been a member of the Hawaii State Hospital Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) for six years. During that time the Board held quarterly meetings until Dr. May was pointed administrator. We have not had a formal meeting since his appointment.

During those six years, the master plan has never been discussed at a CAB meeting.

The first the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board became aware of the state hospital master plan was in May 2015 when the hospital presented the master plan to the Board. It was at that time that the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board became aware of the disagreement between the Department of Health and the University of Hawaii about building on the Great Lawn.

The Department of Health wants to build a long-term care facility across the end of the Great Lawn. The Great Lawn is a major architectural feature of the Windward Community College campus. The College has proposed a land exchange which will enable construction of the long-term care facility at the enterance to the College Campus. The Windward Community College proposal will preserve the great lawn and the Bishop building.

The Department of Health has declined to discuss the land exchange. Their consistent responses been, “a land exchange is not in the best interest of the Department of Health.” In developing their master plan I believe they have done what is easiest for the Department of Health and not considered what is best for Kaneohe community or Windward Community College.

The Hawaii State Hospital master plan has been presented to us as a finished document. The Kaneohe Community has not had an opportunity to participate in the planning process. A master plan is a document which should be presented to the stakeholders for comment and recommendations before detailed architectural drawings are developed. This process ensures that all stakeholder concerns are considered before proceeding with the expense of developing the working documents necessary to implementation of the project.

This project has not moved forward in six years. It has suddenly become urgent because of the impending loss of certification. Dr. May told me last August that the historic documentation required for demolition on any state property older than 60 years had been completed and they were ready to start construction of the long-term care facility. I checked in January with the Division of Historic Preservation and was told that the Department of Health had not submitted the necessary documents to have their requests considered.

I recognize the urgency of implementing the Master Plan. Changing the location of the long-term care facility will not affect any other aspect of the master plan. I do not believe the Department of Health claim that entering into a land exchange will delay the construction of the long-term care facility by five years. The governor can transfer State property between agencies by executive order. If the Governor is given the authority to by-pass the procurement procedures, a new public private contract should be able to be negotiated within a relatively short time.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the land swap. To put a facility that is going to house 150 long term care residents in an area that is already congested, would be more problematic than the proposed site. Windward Comp Center already houses several different offices of DOH and have more than 10 employees on any given day, making parking difficult for staff as well as visitors to the complex. When WCC has their Ho'olaulea, residents are already parking in Hokulele Parking. Is it possible that maybe Avalon can go back to the drawing board and build a facility in the Bishop site that is not two story that will not block the views? Maybe a traffic pattern can be developed to also make the proposed facility users not use the road as Chancellor Dykstra pointed out as a concern. As for the Great Lawn, isn't that between Hale Akoakoa and Hale Kuhina, making this sort of a moot point since Bishop Building is across from it? I also walk the grounds of WCC and wonder why WCC cannot develop the area with the charter school on the backside where a boarded up building is? Or develop the area near the present location of the charter school is. I believe it is also worth mentioning that our elderly usually want quiet, less stimulus which means putting a facility next to a BUSY neighborhood park not practical. You have soccer games, flag football games, softball practices, tennis, etc. on any given day at this park not to mention that the park lights sometimes remain on until 1030pm (which Ko'olau Village residents have complained about in the past) which again is not helpful to the possible residents that would live in a long term facility. I live on Kahuhipa Street and know how busy this park gets as well as how busy the comp center gets.