The Hawaii State Judiciary’s appropriations bill, which includes $5.8 million to purchase equipment and furniture for the new Kona courthouse, passed final reading in the Senate and House of Representatives. The bill has been sent to Gov. David Ige for his review and consideration.
“On behalf of the Hawaii State Judiciary, I want to express my deep appreciation to the Hawaii State Legislature for approving the funding needed to outfit the new courthouse in Kona with equipment and furniture,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “We are pleased to be able to give the West Hawaii community a full-service facility where they can take care of all court-related matters in a centralized, convenient, and secure environment.”
The facility is scheduled to open in late summer 2019. The legislature previously approved a total of $90 million for construction costs in the 2014 and 2015 sessions. Groundbreaking for the project was in October 2016.
“The Judiciary is extremely grateful to all of the Hawaii Island legislators, in particular Rep. Nicole Lowen and Sen. Josh Green, as well as the leadership of Senators Donovan Dela Cruz, Gil Keith-Agaran, and Brian Taniguchi, and Senate President Ron Kouchi, and Representatives Sylvia Luke, Kyle Yamashita, Scott Nishimoto, and Speaker Scott Saiki,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald.
“I also want to share my aloha with the West Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii County Bar Association, and the Hawaii State Bar Association for their ongoing support,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said. “Retired Judge Ron Ibarra, West Hawaii Bar President Donna Payesko, and HSBA Representative from Kona Carol Kitaoka have been critical supporters as well.”
“After years of conducting court business out of three separate locations, we are gratified that we will be better able to better serve the people of the west side by giving them the modern court facility they deserve,” said Third Circuit Chief Judge Greg Nakamura.
“The Kona community is looking forward to having a new courthouse, which will provide safety, efficiency and convenience that the existing three makeshift facilities cannot,” said Rep. Nicole Lowen. “Securing this funding was critical to ensuring the timely completion and opening of the Courthouse.”
“It was my honor to work hand-in-hand with the Chief Justice and the Judiciary to complete funding for this important project for the people of Kona,” said Sen. Josh Green. “This has been a priority for West Hawaii for a long time.”
"The West Hawaii Bar Association greatly appreciates the support of the legislature, especially our Big Island Caucus, in making this needed FF&E funding a reality,” said Donna Payesko, president of the West Hawaii Bar Association. “The appropriation will ensure that the new courthouse will be fully furnished and ready to open next year. The Kona Judiciary Complex will be a great asset to the West Hawaii Community and the West Hawaii Bar Association looks forward to its opening."
The courthouse will be a three-story facility with five courtrooms, a law library and self-help center open to the community, conference rooms, holding cells, witness rooms, attorney interview rooms, and a grand jury meeting room. There will also be more than 250 parking stalls for the public.
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