Aiea gears up for new library
Mar 17, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
About 20 years after the project was first proposed, lawmakers and community leaders broke ground Saturday at what will be the new Aiea Public Library at the site of the old Aiea Sugar Mill.
The new facility will replace the original Aiea public library on Moanalua Road, which was constructed nearly 50 years ago.
"Those of us who use the Aiea library know that it's too small and most importantly there is not enough parking," said state Sen. David Ige. "Twenty years ago, we dreamed the dream that maybe we shouldn't just make do with what we are given. Maybe there is an opportunity to say we want something better."
Led by 'Aiea Community Association president Claire Tamamoto, community members focused their efforts on securing the former sugar mill land as the site of a new library. The acquisition was included in the Aiea Town Center Master Plan, and in 2002 the state Legislature appropriated $2.5 million to purchase the land.
Then-Gov. Linda Lingle released the funds to purchase five fee-simple lots for the library.
In 2010, the Legislature set aside $9 million for the planning, design and construction of the new library. Gov. Neil Abercrombie released the funds last year.
The design contract was awarded to CDS International and the construction contract to Nan Inc.
Architect Glenn Miura said the design of the 17,200-square-foot facility was inspired by the sense of awe he felt upon approaching the old sugar mill as a young child, a feeling he and his designers tried to replicate with their use of cathedral ceilings, columns and exposed beams and ducts.
The new building, slated for completion in 12 to 18 months, will accommodate shelving for up to 78,000 books and 8,000 DVDs and CDs. It will also include free wireless Internet access, 10 computers for public use, a program room for meetings and activities, and expanded parking.
Miura said the building is also designed to be energy-efficient, with 6,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels providing for up to half of the facility's energy needs.
Ige said the new library would serve as the center of the Aiea community, much as the old mill had.
"As the community matured, Aiea began to (experience) a lack of focus," Ige said. "We felt that if we were fortunate enough to organize the resources, maybe the Aiea Public Library, located on the old sugar mill site, could be the new vision of the center of our community."
State Librarian Richard Burns echoed Ige's sentiments, telling the more than 100 people who turned out for the groundbreaking that the new facility would be "a landmark and an anchor institution in the community."
Abercrombie acknowledged the work of former state Sen. Norman Mizuguchi in helping to rally support for the project.
Mentioning his personal "passion" for libraries, Abercrombie welcomed the new facility as a reaffirmation of the importance of libraries not just as community centers but as pillars of democracy.
Yet while politicians ruled the dais Saturday, it was Tamamoto who was repeatedly hailed as the driving force behind the project.
"The sugar mill was the center of our community. It was why the community came about, and so when the mill went down we had the opportunity to make a new community center," Tamamoto said.
"There has been a lot of focus on Kapolei, and Aiea and Pearl City have gotten stuck with being the bypass. It shouldn't be like that. This is still an important community. Luckily, we have good government leaders who listened to us and understood why this was an important project."
___ (c)2013 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Visit The Honolulu Star-Advertiser at
www.staradvertiser.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]