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Downtown campus to get Sea Warrior Center

by Kalamalama staff


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.

Click on image for larger view

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.





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