January 15, 2014

University starts work on Daniel K. Inouye Center


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Construction on the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Democratic Leadership is expected to start in the fall as the university begins work on the pre-design phase.

Clifford Planning & Architecture LLC and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners LLP are the design team for the project. The university hired the firms in late November to help align the new center’s programs with concepts for the new building.

“And once we have that in better in alignment, once we are better in understanding our opportunities for the building, then we can move to a new phase to get into more of the technicalities of the building itself,” said Denise Konan, Dean of College of Social Sciences and academic lead for the center. “So this is still a very early phase of the process.”

Konan said they hope to have reports that will help guide the university in understanding what the options are in March or April.

“So then I think we will use that to develop our approach,” Konan said. “And so our hope is that we will have that together next academic year. So construction could start next academic year.”

The Board of Regents approved $5 million for the Inouye Center in October. The center will serve as a living tribute, honoring the legacy of Sen. Daniel Inouye who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962 and earned the Medal of Honor for his heroism during World War II. Inouye passed away on Dec. 17, 2012.

Carrying a Legacy

Stephen Meder, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Physical, Environmental and Long Range Planning, said the purpose of the Inouye Center is for the benefit of the state, region and country.

“It’s broader than Mānoa in that it’s really to serve future generations in the state of Hawai‘i,” Meder said. “And provide an inspiring record of this man’s legacy. So we’re really looking at it to serve the people of Hawai‘i, the region and the country.”

The center will house seven academic programs that look at civic engagement, civic responsibility and serving in the public sphere sector.

“It’s not just a library or a repository for his work, but that it should have a living legacy associated with it,” Konan said. “So we’re working with faculty right now to design academic programs that would be affiliated with the center.”

Konan said the center will also archive Inouye’s congressional papers.

“It’s most appropriate for those to be at the flagship research campus because we will have the faculty who would be pursuing research based on the papers,” she said.

There will also be an oral history project that faculty are working on proposing.

According to Konan, the College of Social Sciences is also looking at putting together a degree in Public Policy or Public Affairs.

“This is an area where the College of Social Sciences has history, and we think with the Inouye Center it will position us really well to have a world-class program in this area,” Konan said.

The center will develop academic programs on policy and leadership programs, an Inouye Fellows program, Hawai‘i Democratic Leadership partnerships, a lecture series and museum partnerships.

“His legacy is an important one because I think in many ways he represented (the) best of Hawai‘i and some of the issues Hawai‘i faces,” Konan said.

Konan said the university also sees opportunities to bring students in and have programs oriented to students understanding that with public service comes great responsibility. The center expects to serve the community, drawing in residents with activities and programs.

“In our public policy initiative we will be getting together faculty from really multiple disciplines to look at consequential public policy issues and to provide research and insights that will inform the community in a way that we hope will elevate the dialogue,” Konan said.

Henke Hall, A Temporary Home

The center is slated to replace Henke Hall.

According to Konan, Henke Hall is ideal because of its proximity to Hamilton Library, Jefferson Hall and the East-West Center.

“It’s near the East-West Center, and we see that there are going to be synergies with the East-West Center,” Konan said. “So it seemed like a very ideal location for what we want, which is to have this be a new gateway to the university and a public space.”

Meder said the Henke Hall location has not been finalized as the location for the center.

The Planning Office currently uses it as a storage location. It houses the School of Social Work, the Center for Biographical Research, a snail lab, a shark lab, the student center for the Pacific Island Studies program and offices for some of the theater faculty.

Occupants will be moved to Gartley Hall or Kuykendall Annex.

Noreen Mokuau, Dean for the School of Social Work, thinks the hall is a great spot for the center.

“I think it’s a great spot for the Inouye Center,” Mokuau said. “I mean this piece of property off East-West Road. It’s a beautiful spot for the Inouye Center, so I think it’s a great idea.”

Her center will be moving to Gartley Hall, once construction is completed. She said she is looking forward to the move.

“We have waited for quite some time to be some tenants of a building that can accommodate us in classrooms because currently in Henke there are no classrooms, so our students are spread out around campus,” Mokuau said. “So in Gartley what it will mean is, we’ll have faculty offices in one building as well as classrooms for our students. So we are actually looking forward to the move.”

Opportunities For Students

Konan said there will be many opportunities for students to get involved with the center.

“Some are around the kind of research that the faculty will want to do around the papers and the archives and the oral history,” Konan said. “Students could get involved in that. Students could also get involved in some of these programs that we hope to design for the high school students and the community.”

UH Mānoa alumna Kelly Park is the project assistant for the center.

“The main reason for getting involved in this project is because I see the great value and unique opportunity that this project can bring to students,” Park said. “This project will entail activities and programs for students to creatively explore civic engagement, grow personal and professional leadership, find mentors in our community and discover their important role and responsibility in the community.”

Students who have any ideas or concerns about the center can email Konan at konan@hawaii.edu.

Correction issued on Jan. 17 at 3:47 p.m.:

The Senator Inouye's congressional papers are housed in Hamilton Library, in the Archives & Manuscripts Department, not Jefferson Hall.