Hilo High School Gym Project Delayed Due to Difficulties in Obtaining Building Permit

Rep. Jerry Chang and the Hawaii Island legislative delegation today received new information from the Department of Education on the status of the Hilo High School Gymnasium project, which they wanted to share with the community.

Artist rendition of the earlier proposed Hilo High gym

According to the Department, the Hilo High School gym project has been delayed due to difficulties in obtaining a Hawaii County building permit.  The County is requiring the project to meet Chapter 3-180 Hawaii Administrative Rules, specifically an update to Section 423 pertaining to being able to sustain high winds of 155 miles per hour.

The project is currently designed to sustain 115 mph winds, which was agreed upon with the State Civil Defense.  During the design phase of the project, the building was planned on the Uniform Building Code in effect when Hawaii County required only 80 mph.  State Civil Defense continues to support the project at 115 mph due to the fact that the gym is intended to be used as an emergency shelter if needed, but not as a hurricane shelter.

While the DOE submitted the permit application prior to the adoption of the new rules, the County interprets the submittal date to be after the documents have been routed and approved by all other agencies.  In this case, the County considers the project to fall under the newly adopted rules.  Therefore, the Hilo High School gym application must follow the 155 mph requirement, and the consulting firm working on the project, Kober/Hanssen/Mitchell Architects, Inc., is redesigning portions of the gym to conform.

The DOE anticipates that the redesign may impact the cost of the project.  A proposed solution from the consultant is expected on or around February 14, 2012.

“We are disappointed in the delays,” said Rep. Jerry Chang.  “We hope that the DOE and the consultant can work out a solution with the County that will save as much time and money as possible.  A new gymnasium is sorely needed in our community; the community has waited patiently, and we wanted to make sure that they knew the reasons for the delay.”

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