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Catholic Church to buy UH land for West Oahu private school

By Craig Gima

LAST UPDATED: 03:32 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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EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
I've always been against the UH having too much autonomy and being exempt from State of Hawaii government laws regarding procurement and sale of both land and goods. This is especially so since one of the chief Cayetano pay to play cronies was the chief administrator at the UH until he retired about a year ago. I'm not saying that this sale is bad, but we don't know how much land is involved so we don't know if the sale price is at market rates or a give away. The whole point is that without the safeguards of Hawaii Law that apply to regular government transactions, the true owners of the land, the people of Hawaii are prone to being ripped off.
on November 28,2012 | 04:08PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
I forgot to state that this Cayetano era pay to play crony's annual salary was about $350,000.00 -- about four times what the Hawaii State Director of the Department of Finance or other State Department Heads make. Again this was possible because the UH is exempt from State of Hawaii Laws limiting government salaries.
on November 28,2012 | 04:16PM
Anonymous wrote:
For a edgumacated guy, you smart.
on November 28,2012 | 04:47PM
OldDiver wrote:
UH has been the dumping ground for ex-politicians and their appointees for years, kinda like pay for play was until the laws were changed.
on November 28,2012 | 07:48PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Supposedly UH West is way over budget and in the hole so this sale was a stick save to avoid embarrassing revelations of the poor financial management of the new campus.
on November 28,2012 | 05:17PM
aomohoa wrote:
I hope this helps and they get their financial act together. We need this Campus.
on November 28,2012 | 06:05PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Maneki Neko, I like how you start your sentence out with the word "SUPPOSEDLY." Back in the days of John Burns we had honest State government and it told the people the truth good or bad. Ariyioshi started telling little white lies. Waihee started telling big white lies. Cayetano started the pay to play form of government and the big total lie. Lingle had the Lenny Klompus spin doctor truth and now Abercrombie has the George Orwell "new speak" the truth changes every hour form of public information. So I without the source data no one can tell if the West Oahu land sale is a good deal or not. What I have a hard time believing is that the Catholic Church would pay more than what the land is worth to the UH just to bail the UH out of the cost overruns that it incurred.
on November 28,2012 | 06:42PM
onevoice82 wrote:
So do you want to see an appraisal report? Do you want to hire a real estate agent, what exactly do you want? I have never seen any sale of state land reported in the newspaper with supporting land value indicators. Show me one example please.
on November 28,2012 | 07:30PM
rytsuru wrote:
Excuse me but the sale is a "win", now there is a campus where it is needed. Cost overruns? Which project didn't have that come up whenever it was politically feasible to do so to make things look bad for the other guy? Are we also forgetting that if you want to talk about missteps at the West Oahu campus, why don't we talk about MRC Greenwood taking credit for building the whole damn thing? Or the fact that everyone is writing about the $4 million in cost overruns (it is probably more but really does it matter?) when the people at Manoa just spent $1 million dollars in attorney fees and PR representation to make themselves look good and keep their jobs. At least the cost overruns are for a physical component of the UH system, not money being thrown at attorneys and consultants who hardly need the extra cash. We always look at whatever the media wants us to look at and then start salivating and whining like Pavlovian dogs...sad. Thank you Catholic Church for stepping up to the plate and building something out there.
on November 28,2012 | 07:13PM
Bothrops wrote:
why would UH sell an asset from which it could get a continuing income? Sure West Oahu is $15 MILLION in overspending and doesn't have funds to operate, but once they use up the money from the land sale, what do they sell next? The Regents continue to be a fiduciary embarassment to the state. And the Church? Gluttony? Greed? Sloth? Pride? This was land for affordable housing. Four out of seven ain't bad. Well add acedia also.
on November 28,2012 | 08:24PM
LKK56 wrote:
What impact will this new campus has on the other struggling Catholic schools. Is this a wise investment? Why not use that money to fund tuitions for Damien, St. Louis, St. Francis, Sacred Hearts Academy or some of our other elementary schools. They spent $32,000,000 on just the land, now you have to build the school.
on November 28,2012 | 08:28PM
onevoice82 wrote:
Because the Catholic Church in Makakilo and Kapolei is bursting at the seems with new parishoners that need a church to guide them and their children in the Sacraments. I bet you are within 2 miles of a Catholic Church and school where you live, please don't deny young families in this growing metropolis their joy of having a parish.
on November 30,2012 | 08:06AM
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