By Wendy Osher
A dedication ceremony was held on Friday for the new $26 million science building at the University of Hawai’i Maui College campus in Kahului.
The facility was named ʻIke Leʻa, meaning “to see clearly.” It features laboratories and classrooms designed to respond to the challenges in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
University officials say the astronomy, optics, physics, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology and the marine sciences laboratories will connect students and faculty with STEM needs, problems, and opportunities in our county and state.
During the dedication event, a portrait of the late State Representative Robert “Bob” Nakasone was unveiled, recognizing his dedication and commitment to higher education for residents of Maui County including the funding of the science facility.
UH Maui College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto said, “We now have a science facility where students, faculty and community partners can design new solutions to persisting issues. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of State Representative Bob Nakasone, our community leadership, and the dedication of our faculty.”
Lieutenant Governor Shan S. Tsutsui, who provided remarks at the event said, “I am extremely proud and gratified to see the completion of the new science building, ʻIke Leʻa, come to fruition. This project is the culmination of the vision and concerted efforts of many, led by Chancellor Sakamoto, Representative Bob Nakasone, and many others throughout the community.”
“The presence of a state-of-the-art facility for Maui, and for the state, will significantly advance our science and technology education and industry in the 21st century. I am honored to have played a small role in its realization and to have the opportunity to witness the instruction and advancement of our young students and future leaders,” said Lt. Gov. Tsutsui.
A variety of internship programs will be offered to students at the facility that feature hands-on training and research experience in astronomy and space science, optics and instrumentation, the marine and biological sciences, engineering technology and sustainable science. An adjacent facility will house a teaching observatory with telescopes and instrumentation to support labs and student research.
“Our faculty and students are very excited,” said UHMC Science Faculty Professor John Pye. “With its dedicated teaching labs for scientific exploration, we hope to inspire our students to learn and discover more about the world around them and to consider the world of possibilities that are available to them in STEM-related education and careers.”
The dedication ceremony ended with a blessing of ʻIke Leʻa by Reverend Kealahou C. Alika of Keawalaʻi Church.