A center comprised of academic programs and a congressional archive that will honor the late Sen. Daniel Inouye is still in its preliminary design research phase, but its location has been finalized — Henke Hall.
“The site was chosen after a careful consideration of its proximity to the Hamilton Library, which will process the Congressional papers, and to the East-West Center and Asian Studies Center,” said Denise Konan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The preliminary design research phase will determine the final features and functionality of the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Democratic Leadership.
According to Konan, once this phase is complete, the university is anticipating about 18 months for the final design development, permitting and other related activities before construction would begin.
The state legislature has committed $10 million to the center this year, according to Konan, along with $2.5 million of a mix of private and UH funds. Cost estimates will be developed once this research phase is completed.
Housing a Senator's Life Works
“Henke Hall is an excellent and important site for the DKI Center,” Ben Lee, principal of Clifford Planning & Architecture, said. “It is at the juncture of McCarthy Mall and East-West Center Road and is the main pedestrian axis to and from dormitories, East-West Center and other parts of the campus.”
He added that the location is an appropriate anchor for the heavily traveled site and the center would be a welcome addition to the campus.
The hall was built in 1956, according to Victor Kobayashi’s book, “Building a Rainbow,” and consists of three, one-story buildings, which have termite damage and are not in good condition, Lee said.
UH is still reviewing the size of the facility. Once the firm gets into the design and development phase and prepares construction plans, it will have a better idea on the actual size and cost.
The Preliminary Design Concepts
UH unveiled its preliminary design concepts, which incorporated input from community and university members, for the center on May 7, according to a UH news release.
These concepts are part of the preliminary design phase. Lee said there is still a lot of work to be done as the concept phase is at the beginning of the design process.
“The next phase of work includes schematic design, design development and preparation of construction documents,” he said. “We are looking at a 16- or 18-month process.”
Lee added that the project respects the landscape master plan for McCarthy Mall.
“The proposed site plan has a generous setback from McCarthy Mall, straightens the alignment and continues the allay of monkeypod trees to East-West Road,” he said.
McCarthy Mall is comprised of buildings such as Hamilton Library, Kennedy Theatre, Moore Hall and Lincoln Hall.
The preliminary concepts also considered the heights and alignments of adjacent buildings, as well as their relationship to the Henke Hall site. The slight 7-foot slope at the site was also integrated in the concepts.
The UH leadership is currently reviewing the preliminary design concepts and the firm is awaiting a notice to proceed with the next phase of work.
Honoring a Senator
According to Konan, the center will house seven academic programs, including programs on policy and
leadership, an Inouye Fellows program, Hawai‘i Democratic Leadership partnerships, a lecture se an oral history project and an archive the senator’s Congressional papers.
In a January Kā Leo article Konan said the College of Social Sciences was looking at putting together a degree in Public Policy or Public Affairs. She said the college is currently in the early stage of exploring potential degree programs at the center.
Campus Community Involvement
According to Konan, students were involved in the preliminary design phase through the pre-design workshop and the recent presentation that shared the preliminary design concepts.
Kanae Tokunaga, a student who helped with administrative and organizational support at one of the center’s meetings, said the center would be a good place for students to get involved.
“Judging from what I overheard at the meeting I was helping at, the center would be a great place for students to take initiatives and be involved with democratic process. I think it would be even better if it serves as a place that connects current students with alumni who may be in leadership positions,” Tokunaga said.
There will also be more opportunities for students to get involved in the future as the center’s programs are developed.
In addition to student involvement, the public will be able to provide feedback on the design concepts.
“UH leadership and the design team wanted to be as inclusive as possible in developing the design program as well as the preliminary design concept,” Lee said, adding that the community input will further define the next phase of work. “The senator is beloved by so many people in Hawai‘i, Asia-Pacific and internationally around the world. I think he would like us to reach out to the community for input and discussion. It is very much like the senator. It is an iterative process so the UH and design team will entertain feedback and comments during the course of the design development process.”