HPU students, faculty, and staff will have exclusive access
to a large, new facility that will be open for the fall 2003
semester, according to Mr. Robert Gerell of Gerell Management
Partners, the company that manages the historic Blaisdell Hotel
at 1154 Fort Street Mall..
To be named the Sea Warrior Center, the new facility, as it
is planned, will occupy most of the interior ground floor space
of the former hotel, and will include meeting rooms, an Internet
room, storage lockers, food service, a large lounge area, comfortable
seating and televisions. The new 6,000-square-foot facility
will undoubtedly become the primary gathering place for HPU
students, according to HPU Vice President E. Rick Stepien.
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The facility will be constructed, furnished, and managed by
the Gerrel Management Partners for the exclusive use of HPU.
The university will fund a portion of the monthly operating
expenses. “The center will provide a much-needed, enclosed,
air-conditioned area on the Mall where the staff, faculty, and
students of HPU can eat, study, or socialize,” said Gerrel.
“Hawai‘i Pacific contributes immeasurably to the economy and
rich fabric of the downtown business district, and, indeed,
the entire state, by attracting students from all over the world
to come to Hawai‘i to study. We in the business community applaud
this contribution and hope this facility will assist in attracting
many more students to this great university,” added Gerrel.
According to Stepien, discussions about establishing a gathering
place downtown for students, faculty, and staff have been ongoing
for the past few years. “We contacted the owner of the now-closed
shoe store on the upper part of the Mall, but we were unsuccessful
in having an offer tendered to HPU. We then began talking to
the Blaisdell management,” said Stepien. But nothing could be
negotiated until space became available. Stepien added that
when it became known that the ground floor space of the Blaisdell
could become available sometime this year, the University reacted
immediately with the end result being the opportunity to create
this facility downtown.
The new facility is welcome news to HPU students and employees.
“This initiative is something that I am sure will be greatly
appreciated by the student body and all of our faculty and administrative
staff,” said Chatt Wright, HPU president. “It underscores the
strong partnerships Hawai‘i Pacific has been able to forge over
the decades, and, hopefully, will assist the Fort Street Mall
Business Improvement District in its effort to enhance the ambience
of the Mall,” said Wright.
Gerrel Management and HPU are collaborating on the design and
functionality of the facility. The scheduled opening of the
Sea Warrior Center will be August 1.