KAHULUI - The fall semester at the University of Hawaii Maui College, with its new name beginning to take hold in the community, begins Monday with nearly 90 more students than last year and growth in programs and facilities.
There is a new four-year degree - bachelor of applied science in sustainable science management - that received its accreditation last week, a new Hawaiian music program to help young artists get in the business, a blessing Friday of the new Hawaiian studies building, the Kaiao Student Success Center; and a book rental program to help students reduce costs by as much as 50 percent.
These are happening times at the college, which opened its doors in 1931 as Maui Vocational School. In 1958, the school became Maui Technical School and in 1965, Maui Community College. About a year and a half ago, the UH Board of Regents approved the current name, University of Hawaii Maui College.
Construction continues at the $25 million University of Hawaii Maui College science building. It is expected to be completed by next July.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
To further spotlight the name change and the growth of the island's only public postsecondary institution, a "Launch Celebration" will be held Friday, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., on the Kahului campus. Residents are invited to the free event.
Susan Wyche, special projects coordinator in the chancellor's office, explained that the celebration was an opportunity to promote the college offering three four-year degree programs as well as other new opportunities.
The rebranded college has shown another semester of enrollment growth - 2.2 percent as of Aug. 11, said Alvin Tagomori, vice chancellor for student affairs. There were 4,057 students enrolled, up from 3,969 on the same day last year.
Since the Great Recession began in 2008, the number of students at the college has grown 45 percent from about 2,800 students in 2007, he said.
"A lot of it (the enrollment growth) is driven by the recession. . . . That's one of the major contributors to it," Tagomori said.
Some of the growth also can be tabbed to efforts by the college to increase enrollment, including working with high schools to offer college-level courses that also meet high school graduation requirements, he said.
In fact, the 88 high school students enrolled last spring at the Maui College was the highest in the UH Community College System, Tagomori said.
The opening of the 400-bed private housing complex Kulanaa'o in Kahului also has brought more students to the college, especially from Molokai and Lanai. In the future, the college hopes to attract more students from the Mainland and internationally.
"We anticipate the economy is going to improve," so the school is laying the groundwork "for new flows coming to the campus," Tagomori said.
The growth has led to dramatic increases in liberal arts and allied health program enrollments, he said.
"Health is huge," he said, noting increases in nursing and dental programs. The liberal arts growth could be attributed to the baccalaureate programs offered at UH-MC and through the University of Hawaii Center, Maui, with students completing their liberal arts requirements at the college, he said.
UH-MC has been able to handle the enrollment growth from the facilities point of view because of the new buildings that have gone up on campus in recent years. It has been more of a challenge getting qualified faculty and lecturers to fill the expanded class offerings, he said.
New campus facilities
The college sent a report to the Senate Ways and Means Committee this month listing the recently completed capital improvement projects, those in progress and those on the drawing board. The list includes:
* Modular nursing buildings. Three buildings, totaling 3,312 square feet, were occupied in spring 2010. The construction cost was about $1.5 million for the project that included a nursing laboratory, a classroom and five offices.
* Kaiao (to enlighten) Student Success Center. The 2,000-square-foot structure built on the concrete slab of the old nursing building was occupied in February and will be blessed in a public ceremony from 3:45 to 6 p.m. Friday. The $1.1 million center, built with federal and state funds, houses programs that help homeless families with homeownership and rental assistance counseling and after-school child care, educational support programs for Native Hawaiians, and offices for the UH-Maui College Hawaiian Studies program. Kaiao also is a community gathering place.
* Science building. The $25 million project will include classrooms, offices, laboratories, an auditorium and a telescope. The structure, which will have a 100-kilowatt photovoltaic and 16-kilowatt wind turbine rooftop system, is expected to be completed next July.
* Renovation of the old science building. When the new science building is completed, the interior of the old science building will be renovated to house dental hygiene and oral health laboratories and classrooms for the allied health program. Designs for the $4.5 million project are scheduled for completion in December, with construction to begin next July.
* Hale Haumana student housing conversion to a hospitality laboratory. The unique private-college partnership will create a learning laboratory for the UH-Maui College Hospitality and Tourism program. The four wooden structures of Hale Haumana were built in 1981 and served as student housing until the opening of Kulanaa'o in 2009. The plan is for the college to renovate the exteriors of the buildings, which have deteriorated due to age and exposure to salt breeze, and have resorts and hotels on Maui "Adopt the Room" and convert them into resort-level hotel suites. With financial support from the Grand Wailea and the UH Community College system, designs for the conversion of Hale Haumana into a hospitality lab is nearly complete. The estimated construction cost to renovate the exteriors of the buildings is $3.5 million. The college is seeking grants and other funds to finance the work.
In addition to the buildings, the report also said the college inked a long-term energy performance contract with Johnson Controls for $8.7 million in energy-efficiency projects over the next year. These included installing a central chiller loop system for air conditioning, energy-efficient lighting, solar water heaters, electric vehicle charging stations, waterless urinals and several interactive public kiosks that will provide a dashboard display of the colleges' energy consumption in real time. The college is expected to reduce its energy consumption by more than 20 percent and is projected to save $4.7 million in energy costs over the term of the contract.
On Molokai, the report said, the college is in the process of acquiring 3.2 acres of undeveloped land for the expansion of the Molokai Education Center. Molokai Ranch and UH-MC have agreed on a $400,000 purchase price, and the governor has released $500,000 for the purchase and planning costs. The execution date of the purchase agreement is expected to be in December.
New programs offered
Accompanying the growing facilities on campus are two new programs to be launched this year.
The bachelor of applied science in sustainable science management, which received its accreditation last week, will supply the work force with environmental planners and managers and sustainability coordinators, said John McKee, vice chancellor of academic affairs. It is the college's third bachelor's degree offering and will focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.
The college has designed the program in response to the passage of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative that calls for the state to have 70 percent clean energy resources by 2030, he said.
The students receiving the new bachelor's degree, which combines business and science disciplines, will be trained for new and emerging jobs. Some resorts already have hired sustainability coordinators, who sometimes pay for themselves with energy savings, McKee said.
He cited a study showing 2,100 jobs in sustainability currently on Oahu; that number is expected to rise to more than 16,000 by 2030, a nearly 700 percent increase.
"The need for this kind of profession is going to grow stronger and stronger," he said.
UH-Hilo has shown interest in having UH-MC offer the program on its campus, McKee said. The bachelor's program will be a specialty of UH-MC, which will be "the anchor for that need" in the state UH Community College system, he said.
The other major academic program expansion involves the creation of the Institute for Hawaiian Music with Grammy Award-winning George Kahumoku Jr. as its program director, McKee said.
The details of the program, which will be offered in the spring, still are being worked out, but the goal is to develop the talent of local musicians interested in launching a career in music.
The curriculum will touch upon business, recording and Hawaiian studies to help create "music grounded in some tradition," McKee said.
In the fall, there will be auditions for 15 to 20 spots in the program.
"There is so much talent here," he said.
To reduce costs for students in the UH system, UH Bookstores is offering a rental book program on selected titles, its website said. Many of the titles are 50 percent off the new and used book purchase costs.
Books may be obtained at the school bookstore or online. The rental deadline for the return of books is Dec. 16, at 3:30 p.m., the website said.
"Modest levels of writing and highlighting are allowed," the website rental service terms said. "If a book is returned with a copious amount of writing or highlighting, a damage fee may be charged."
To avoid damage fees, the book cover can have no noticeable damage, pages must be intact with no creases, tears or stains, and no damage to the binding.
There is a $15 charge for minor damage. If the book is deemed unusable, the renter will be charged the cost of a new book, minus the rental fee.
* UH-Maui College Text Book Rentals - www.bookstore.hawaii.edu/maui/SiteText.aspx?id=7283.
* Lee Imada can be reached at email@example.com.