Coronavirus HawaiiNELHA to build new innovation center, visitor’s center to open by 2025May 11, 2022Publisher NELHA has announced plans to build new innovation center, which will expand the research campus located in North Kona. Also planned is a a visitors center where the community can host events, such as concerts, birthdays, etc., at the Hawaiian Ocean Science Technology Park, also known as the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). NELHA officials plan to have the project done by 2025, and the architecture and design, done by W.R.N.S studios, is already 60% completed. “Things are going well. No real hiccups right now,” said Gregory Barbour, executive director at NELHA. “We got delayed a little from COVID, like everything else. But nothing unusual and now were in the EA phase.” He also added that construction is likely to begin in 2023 and be completed within two years. “It just takes a long time,” he added. A draft environmental assessment, which anticipates a finding of no significant impact for the project, was published May 8, kicking off a 30-day public comment period. Input is due by June 7 to the proposing/consulting agency as well as the consultant. Currently, NELHA’s research campus hosts over 20 businesses in the fields of renewable energy, ocean conservation, ocean technology, and aquaculture. The campus spreads across 6 acres and provides a “pipeline” for businesses to graduate into the adjacent Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park, according to a press release. The expansion project is needed to make room for more small and local businesses to reside. “Right now we are 100% full in the research campus. We’re turning people away because we have no office space, we want to expand the campus so we can keep helping small start up research companies,” Barbour said. However, NELHA still needs the proper funds. The project may be partially funded from the $6.5 million they received from FEMA and insurance companies from the destruction of NELHA’s buildings in Puna after the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruption, the press release said. NELHA also applied for additional funding of $13 million from the Legislature this year, but was rejected. Officials will most likely go back and request additional funding again, Barbour said. When completed, this project will add 4 acres of incubator office and wet laboratory building and approximately 60,000 square feet for outdoor tanks and demonstration projects for start-ups. NELHA intends for the project to be a “world-leading focal point for state-of-the-art research and development of ocean or blue economy technologies and support an aquaculture business accelerator program with space and resources for researchers and entrepreneurs.” The planned Hale Wawaloli Visitor Center is intended as a gift to the community and will include a multi-purpose pavilion and open ampitheatre space. And according to the executive director, the new buildings will create over 100 new jobs. “We’ll just keep adding more jobs over the years,” he said. More, both buildings will be designed to LEED Silver sustainability standard as a state project though LEED registration nor certification will be officially pursued. “Every aspect of the project strives to reflect NELHA’s commitment to environmental stewardship, cultural awareness, and vision for practical, meaningful solutions for now and the future,” the press release read. Barbour added that NELHA has completed the archeological inventory phase and that the area they’re building on has already been disturbed. “I don’t anticipate any major issues moving forward,” he concluded. The 320-page draft EA can be viewed at https://bit.ly/38hSzkQ. Source link Total 0 Shares Share 0 Tweet 0 Pin it 0 Related TopicsbuildCenterHI pandemicinnovationNELHAOpenvisitors Previous Article Coronavirus Hawaii Road Closures for Merrie Monarch Festival Begin at Noon April 20, 2022Publisher View Post Next Article Coronavirus Hawaii In early primaries, voters favor polling places over mail May 16, 2022Publisher View Post You May Also Like View Post In early primaries, voters favor polling places over mail May 16, 2022 View Post Road Closures for Merrie Monarch Festival Begin at Noon April 20, 2022 View Post COVID, overdoses pushed US to highest death total in 2021 April 13, 2022 View Post COVID Weekly Update: 92 New Cases Confirmed on Big Island March 30, 2022 View Post Scientists worry virus variant may push up US COVID cases March 23, 2022 View Post 20 for the Next 20: A Special Congratulations from Central Pacific Bank March 9, 2022 View Post 24 New COVID Cases Confirmed on Big Island March 2, 2022 View Post Companies revert to more normal operations as COVID wanes February 16, 2022 Leave a Reply Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.