ANAHOLA — The benefit of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic adds to the list of benefits that will come with the construction of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Anahola Service Center adjacent to the KIUC solar farm in Anahola.
“Think about all the hungry workers,” said Kahu Wayne Vidinha of Ke Akua Mana Church, who officiated the blessing and groundbreaking that was attended by a small audience of KIUC board members, the partnering state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Anahola residents, including County Councilmember KipuKai Kuali‘i, who represented the County of Kaua‘i.
Anahola resident Robin Danner spoke of the economic support for the neighboring Anahola Marketplace, and KIUC pointed out how local contractors will lead the project, including Cushnie Construction that will commence with site work.
“Moving out of the current location in Kapa‘a has been a goal for several years,” said KIUC President and CEO David Bissell. “The Anahola Service Center will help us better serve these areas in a facility that meets our operational needs, and also provides benefits for the community of Anahola.”
The Anahola Service Center will be built on 4.5 acres of land leased from DHHL adjacent to the KIUC substation serving the Anahola solar farm. In addition to providing more space than the current Kapa‘a Service Center, the new facility will include a community meeting room that may be used by beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and the Anahola community at large.
“We appreciate the support from DHHL in relocating the service center to Anahola, as well as our continuing partnership with the Anahola Homestead Association and the Homestead Community Development Corporation,” Bissell said.
“The Anahola solar farm has been a true collaboration that continues to benefit the community of Anahola and all of our cooperative members.”
The facility will also provide adequate space for utility functions and will improve KIUC’s response time to outages and trouble calls on the North Shore by the elimination of the impact of Kapa‘a traffic congestion.
“We have been operating out of the current location in Kapa‘a for more than 60 years, and it’s no longer able to meet our needs,” said KIUC Transmission and Distribution Manager John Cox.
“The new center will serve as a staging area for T&D operations, and will also house KIUC’s distribution planning team. The expanded site will serve as a storm-preparation area and equipment depot for hurricane season.
The Anahola Service Center will include the following features:
• 6,600 square feet of garage and workshop space;
• 5,500 square feet of office space that will include offices, storage, a utility room, an information-technology room, a workroom for KIUC’s distribution planners, a workroom for KIUC’s line crew, and the community conference room;
• 3,200 square feet for a materials and tools warehouse;
• 44,000 square feet for a driveway and parking lot;
• 24 employee parking stalls;
• 24 guest and public parking stalls;
• 6,400 square foot pole storage area.
The community conference room will measure 20 feet by 50 feet. It will be available during regular business hours by advance scheduling and subject to KIUC policies.
The community conference room will have a separate entrance to ensure that the community will have access without interfering with KIUC’s utility operations or compromising utility security.
The room will also feature separate restrooms and a small kitchen as well as a video monitor and Wi-Fi capability. Tables and chairs will be included to accommodate seating for approximately 50 people.
Construction plans include the installation of a new waterline along Kuhio Highway along with a fire hydrant to be located next to the building, enhancing firefighting capabilities in the immediate surrounding area. Traffic impacts will be mitigated via a 20-foot-wide, double-lane entrance to and exit from Kuhio Highway.
Work has already started for Kaua‘i-based Cushnie Construction, which was awarded the bid for completion of site improvements. The award of contract for building construction is expected to be announced shortly.
“We are so pleased that the work is staying on Kaua‘i during this time when our economy needs the boost,” Bissell said.
KIUC expects the project to cost approximately $9 million, and for construction to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.