UH looking at building Diabesity Center in Kakaako

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Sep 07 2012 06:00:00 PM HST

The University of Hawaii is looking at building a diabetes and obesity center in Kakaako.

HONOLULU -

The new cancer center near the University of Hawaii medical school is set to open soon.  But, a new Diabesity Center is something you may not heard of.

Diabesity is a word you might not be familiar with but expect to learn more about it.

UH administrators are floating a plan to create a new center around the growing health problem in an area under control of the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

The new structure is being proposed for a parking lot used by workers at the UH medical school.

UH is asking for $27 million in funding for design and feasibility studies to launch their latest endeavor.

The university does have a conditional lease for this lot.  It has until August of next year to come up with a formal proposal for the HCDA for a research center.

Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple briefed the UH regents on the tentative plans at a meeting this week.

And Apple has been talking about the proposal in town hall meetings with deans and directors.

The Faculty Senate has raised some concerns that the Life Science Departments who may be affected have not been involved in the talks.

The news of a Diabesity Center came as a surprise to a community watchdog planning group for Kakaako Makai.

"It is so close to the shoreline, we want to protect our view planes," said Wayne Takamine of the Kakaako Advisory Council.

The council says it wants to make sure that UH completes a full environmental impact study before starting construction.

"For something like a big building to come out so close to the shoreline, all the other views from mauka will not be able to see the ocean and the same thing from makai.  It will just be blocked by these huge buildings," said Takamine.

The university said it hopes to use an earlier environmental assessment that HCDA conducted in the general year to get the project going sooner than later.

The plans also call for a new parking structure which will be incorporated in the design.

An additional $17 million in design monies is included in the draft budget.

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