Governor releases $33 million for permanent College of Pharmacy building

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Alyson Kakugawa-leong, (808) 932-7669
Dir, Media Rel, University Relations
Posted: Oct 13, 2014

Governor Neil Abercrombie recently released $33 million for construction of a permanent building for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. The State legislature approved the funding earlier this year.

“During the course of my administration it has been an inspiration to witness the tremendous growth and development of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy. Even during the controversial times of the University, this College remained steadfast and focused on providing a strong intellectual and economical environment,” said Abercrombie. “I am proud of the College of Pharmacy, and I know the people of Hawaiʻi are proud. Construction of this building will secure the future of the College and continuously benefit the citizens of our State. I am pleased to say this is one of the greatest transformations to have come to fruition during my term in office.”

The College has admitted students since 2007, initially sharing classrooms and laboratories with other departments at UH Hilo. A group of four temporary modular buildings resembling trailers allowed the College to have a presence on the UH Hilo campus since 2009, but faculty and staff were required to travel up to 7 miles away for lab and office space in three separate locations.

“A permanent home is absolutely crucial in order for the College of Pharmacy to maintain the full accreditation they have worked so hard to achieve in 2011,” said Chancellor Donald Straney. “We are grateful to the legislature and to the Governor for recognizing the dire need for pharmacists who will provide an even greater service as our population ages and we experience healthcare reform.”

In the new building, the first floor will include areas for student services and activities; the second floor will include research laboratories. The complete structure will occupy around 40,000 sq. ft. of space. The modular buildings will continue to serve as classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, and offices, which will supply adequate space to consolidate all of four Hawaiʻi Island core functions at one site.

Founding Dean John M. Pezzuto said that the timing of the release of the funds couldn’t have come at a better time. DKICP has been required to undergo site visits from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accreditation teams since before admitting students, and passed every one of the 30 strict standards until last year when they faced possible probation for not having suitable facilities. 

The ACPE is sending an evaluation team on Oct. 15-16 for a focused site visit to decide the future of the College’s accreditation. The College is waiting for their decision, which should come in January.

“We never stopped believing in our future,” said Pezzuto. “I am personally grateful to the legislature and to the Governor for recognizing the need for upgrading the quality of the environment students need to succeed, and for demonstrating to the community that Hawaiʻi Island contributes to the well-being of the entire State. With a permanent building, the College is well positioned to continue the quest of achieving a high national ranking.”