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The New Natural Sciences Building at Windward Community College

Floyd McCoy

In approximately a year and a half, the geology program at Windward community College (WCC) will take a giant step -- into Hale 'Imiloa, a new building. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on November 22nd; construction should start within a month with completion in about 15 months.

It will be an impressive structure, close to 37,000 square feet in a single story. A central hallway within the main portion of the building will be covered by a celestory, flooding the hallway with light. Two wings will be surrounded by covered verandah-like porches providing a plantation-style appearance. This architectural design has been nominated for an award because of its complementary fit both into the verdant, expansive setting of the campus, and with the design of the older buildings of the WCC campus.

An entrance lobby will provide exhibit space. Within the building are 4 lecture rooms including one for geology, 7 laboratories including one for oceanography, 4 storage/preparation rooms, 10 offices, and other rooms (conference room, computer room, instrument room, student study room, micro-culture room, hazardous chemical storage space, etc.). A learning center will be equipped with computers, video, and additional multi-media equipment; an aerospace laboratory is also planned. Providing political vagaries do not disturb existing budgets, Hale 'Imiloa will be well furnished. Geology will be well supplied with excellent rock, mineral, and map storage capabilities, state-of-the-art teaching equipment, laboratory benches and map tables, rock saws thin-sectioning equipment, and more.

A planetarium is planned adjacent to the science building. It will have an octagonal shape, with 3500 square feet, covered by a 35-foot hemispheric dome. A large, circular, multi-media classroom is to seat 64; plans call for a Digistar projector. Surrounding this classroom will be smaller storage rooms, a computer room, as well as mechanical and electrical rooms. Funds for constructing and furnishing this building unfortunately remain indefinite.

This marks the beginning of the rebuilding of the WCC campus. That the first building is for science reflects an emphasis of the college in the sciences, particularly marine sciences (another emphasis is on Hawaiian studies). The $9 million building will replace the worn-out, rodent-infested, leaky, inadequate buildings now serving geology, oceanography, chemistry, physics, biology, botany, and astronomy. "Let's hope it goes up as fast as the new sports arena and is as well furnished as the new legislators' offices" quipped WCC's Professor of Chemistry, Clyde Noble.

reprinted from the Hawaii Center for Volcanology Newsletter, Volume 2, Number 1, December 1994

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