Commission approves $8M DOW project

LIHUE — The Kauai Planning Commission unanimously approved permits Tuesday for the county Department of Water to go ahead with an $8 million project to construct a new administration building twice the size of its existing headquarters at Pua Loke Street in Lihue.

DOW Project Manager Dustin Moises said the department is running out of space in its 7,000-square-foot headquarters, and many offices are now in separate buildings.

“The expansion is based on our projected staff to 2050,” he said. “This 15,000 square feet (building) should carry us for the next 20, 30 years, for sure.”

The scope of the project includes a $6 million two-story building, and an additional $2 million in off-site improvements, including a 65-vehicle parking lot, a pedestrian path from Pua Loke Street to Kaumualii Highway and a 1,200-foot sewer line to connect with Grove Farm’s sewer system.

The new building will be near the DOW’s current headquarters, accessible by Pua Loke Street and fronting Kaumualii Highway. The move will allow the DOW’s operational staff to use the old building, according to Moises.

“We’ve got $100,000 machines that are exposed to the weather,” he said. “The long-term plan, based on our approved master plan, is to accommodate all this equipment, and also give guys office space.”

Moises said because there is a well within 1,000 feet of the project, the DOW had to either install an aerobic wastewater system or connect the building to a sewer system.

As “stewards of water,” the department opted to go with the sewer system, even though it meant a $750,000 increase, because it’s more environmentally friendly and neighboring buildings could tap into the new sewer lines in the future, he said.

The architectural sketches may look beautiful, but the plans are stripped down, Moises said. Originally, the building was supposed to have 17,000 square feet. The metal roof proved to be a cheaper option than concrete, he said.

“We’re pretty much trying to cut all costs,” he said.

Project architect Richard Borromeo said this is not a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design project, but the DOW is doing the project in the “spirit of LEED.”

“We are using LEED principles, but we are not going for the plaque on the wall,” Moises said.

Borromeo said the building has occupancy sensors, the roof has photovoltaic panels, the restrooms have water-saving devices, the air-conditioner in almost every room can be controlled, and windows and roof insulation are designed to keep the building cool.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or lazambuja@thegardenisland.com

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