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Catholic Church to buy UH land for West Oahu private school

By Craig Gima

LAST UPDATED: 3:32 p.m. HST, Nov 28, 2012

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved a $32 million sale of land next to UH-West Oahu to the Roman Catholic Church, which plans to build a church and a private school that one regent called "Maryknoll West." 

The K-12 school could eventually serve more than 1,400 students from kindergarten through high school.

The sale still has to be finalized and there is no construction schedule yet. The church also has to get a conditional use permit from the city before they can build on the land and obtain financing.

But Marlene De Costa, the director of real estate for the church, said the Catholic community in West Oahu has been asking for a new church and school in the area for a long time.

"We do know that there is a demand," she said. "The first step is to get the land."

The purchase price for the land is about $12 million. But the church has agreed to spend up to $20 million to build infrastructure — roads, sewers, electricity and water — to the site on Farrington Highway between UH-West Oahu and the Kapolei golf course.

UH-West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni said the sale is a win-win for the campus and the community. He said the university and the church are talking about having education students from UH-West Oahu train at the new Catholic school, and students from the new high school taking advanced placement classes at UH-West Oahu. 

The money from the sale will be used to pay for some of the start-up and operating costs of the new campus and could be used to finish construction on the first phase of the UH-West Oahu campus, including a $6 million administration building. Some of the proceeds may also go into an endowment, which could be used to pay for ongoing operating costs for the campus.

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