KCC marine science lab opens doors

PUHI — A once unused classroom breathes new life.

Kauai Community College faculty blessed the school’s Marine Science laboratory on Thursday.

KCC Chancellor Helen Cox said the blessing was made possible through the efforts of a lot of people, including the contractor, Shioi Construction, the University of Hawaii for its ongoing support of KCC, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and faculty members who “go beyond simply doing their job, but instead have envisioned where we want to go.”

The former social science classroom needed to be renovated, said Dr. Stephen Taylor, assistant professor of Physical Sciences and Marine Option Program Coordinator.

“This is more than just a moment to bless our lab,” Cox said at the scene of the lab’s $500,000 remodel job. “This lab is a symbol of direction in which Kauai CC is moving.”

KCC received authorization to offer a new associate of science program in natural science with concentration in marine science, recognizing the importance of science, math and engineering to the jobs of the present and future and to the economy and sustainability of the island, Cox said.

“We’re surrounded by water, so it’s only natural we want to learn more about it,” said Alisa Waiamau, a liberal arts student who is looking at a degree in elementary education. “We’ve had classes on the inside, and I’m sure we’re going to be doing something with the outside lab.”

The completion of the marine science lab is a significant step forward, Cox said.

“We live in Hawaii where nature is one of its greatest assets and we need to learn how to take care of it,” said Bryan Gerald, a second-year KCC student taking the biology class.

Taylor said KCC wants high school students and their parents to know, you don’t have to leave the island to get started on a science degree.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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