Bigger, better

LIHUE — Dustin Moises, project manager for the Department of Water administration building, said his oldest daughter is now six years old.

“She was born when David Craddick, then manager and chief engineer for the DOW, approached Keitsu and myself with this project in 2009,” Moises said. “Today, we are celebrating the blessing of this new administration building, five months ahead of schedule, and at a savings of $100,000.”

Kirk Saiki, DOW manager and chief engineer, Moises and a host of dignitaries celebrated the opening of the new building Tuesday morning. The dedication was a week before the DOW staff gets settled in and the secured building becomes open to the public.

“With two storms threatening the islands, this will be the real test,” said Kauai County Council Chair Mel Rapozo. “There’s a lot of open area for birds to fly in, or wind to blow rain in.”

Starting Sept. 6, all DOW administrative, billing and engineering services will operate from the new building at 4398 Pua Loke Street in Lihue, a stone’s throw, or about 500 feet west of the old building built in 1971.

The new building with an interior waterfall will maintain the same phone numbers, the same street and mailing addresses.

Signage will guide customers to the new building which feature a drive-through drop box for customers to drop off payments without having to wait in line.

“This building, which is Leed-inspired, is an investment in the DOW staff,” Moises said.

The $10.9 million project is expected to provide cost savings and is built for efficiency.

Officials said it will reduce the load on air conditioning, utilize solar water heating, has a 50-year roof designed to last the 50-year life of the building, and is designed for ease of management.”

The new building, a steel-framed concrete masonry unit wall system constructed by Unlimited Construction Services, sits on an area of 83,520 square feet with 8.652 square feet on its ground floor, and 6,246 square feet on its second floor.

A demonstration garden with all-native plantings feature two rows of edibles and a row of drought-tolerant plantings and shows off how no rain water runoff — all the rain water stays on-site through its 2,000-gallon rain catchment irrigation system. The building also features a backup generator, energy-saving lighting, Shearwater-approved lighting in the parking lots, and is open to the birds.

“I’ve been in there,” Moises said. “So far, we have not had a problem with droppings, and despite the heavy rains, there has been no issues with water being blown into the building.”

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