An estimated 700 people attended the long-awaited opening of the new Aiea Public Library on Saturday.
Among them were Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Sen. David Ige, Reps. K. Mark Takai and Gregg Takayama, City Council Member Carol Fukunaga, Aiea Community Association President Claire Tamamoto, CDS International Architect Glenn Miura, and State Librarian Richard Burns.
The ceremony featured a prelude and musical accompaniment by Grammy award-winning slack key guitarist Jeff Peterson and presentation of the colors by a Marine color guard from Camp Smith. The “Star-Spangled Banner,” “Hawaii Pono`i,” and “The Queen’s Prayer” were sung by Misty Kelai.
The $10.4 million, 17,200-square-foot library, on the site of the former Aiea Sugar Mill at 99-374 Pohai Place, replaces the former 10,724-square-foot building at 99-143 Moanalua Road that served library patrons for nearly 50 years. The new library will seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification and includes features to reduce electricity costs such as a high-efficiency air-conditioning system and 6,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels.
The opening comes about 20 years after the project was first proposed.
Led by Tamamoto, community members focused their efforts on securing the former sugar mill land as the site of a new library. The acquisition was included in the Aiea Town Center Master Plan, and in 2002 the state Legislature appropriated $2.5 million to purchase the land.
Then-Gov. Linda Lingle released the funds to purchase five fee-simple lots for the library.
In 2010, the Legislature set aside $9 million for the planning, design and construction of the new library. Gov. Neil Abercrombie released the funds last year.