NOAA 2005-R415
Contact: Delores Clark
NOAA News Releases 2005
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NOAA has selected historic Ford Island as its preferred site for a new regional center. The center will bring together NOAA offices and activities in Honolulu that are currently scattered from Hawai’i Kai to Sand Island. The project is estimated to cost $240 million. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Ford Island was selected because it allows for consolidation of NOAA programs and operations. Ford Island also enables NOAA to use existing federal land with roads, docks and utility infrastructure already in place. The location is secure, but allows for ready access by NOAA staff, guests, and visitors. This action will help preserve and restore historic World-War II-era buildings that will be adapted for NOAA use. The new NOAA facility will house approximately 500 employees at the time of its completion in early 2010.

“The Ford Island site meets all of our requirements and offers many advantages and opportunities,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The synergy created by having NOAA programs on one campus will enhance technical and scientific research and improve Agency coordination.”

“NOAA plays a vital role in Hawai’i and throughout the Pacific” said Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. “I welcome this substantial and enduring investment in the future of our home that this new facility represents. With a strong NOAA presence in Hawai’i, the United States enhances its position as a leader in ocean and atmospheric issues in the Pacific,” said Sen. Inouye. “Moreover, with the increased visibility of NOAA's programs and personnel, it is my hope that our children will be inspired to pursue careers in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

The site provides a unique opportunity for NOAA to be part of the Ford Island historic preservation and redevelopment project. The selected site location, adjacent to the Naval Undersea Warfare Command, will enhance NOAA’s partnership and collaboration with the Navy on ocean management issues including the protection of endangered marine mammals. The U.S. Navy has provided valuable cooperation and assistance during the site evaluation and selection process.

The planned Ford Island location will include office and research space; specialized holding and treatment facilities for marine mammals and other sea life from the Pacific Basin; and pier space for NOAA research ships and associated maintenance facilities. Plans include a public information and outreach facility and a visitor’s center that will include a library, conference and training facilities, and a display area for NOAA’s science applications.

The site includes several World War II-era buildings and hangars that will be restored and renovated. NOAA is working closely with the Navy’s historic preservation advisory committee to ensure that this project complies fully with historic preservation and adaptive re-use guidelines. The entire complex will be redeveloped as an environmentally sustainable, state-of-the-art facility that will meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) “Gold” certification standards.

The center will include the NOAA Fisheries Service’s Pacific Islands Regional Office and Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center; the NOAA Weather Service’s Pacific Region Headquarters and International Tsunami Information Center; the NOAA Ocean Service’s Pacific Services Center; offices for the Hawai`ian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Northwestern Hawai`ian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve; and offices for NOAA’s Pacific marine operations base to support the NOAA fleet.

NOAA’s ship operations, currently located at Snug Harbor, will be relocating in early 2006 to Ford Island in anticipation of the consolidated facility. Final site selection for the facility will be announced following the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) review process.

NOAA is partnering with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), based in Hawai’i, which is providing local support for construction project management. The Command is also providing design and construction services through contractors in support of the project. Local businesses involved in the initial planning phases include: Architects Pacific, Inc., Mason Architects, Nagamine Okawa Engineers, Inc., Thermal Engineering Corp., MK Engineers, Ltd. Hawai’i Pacific Engineers, Inc., Pacific Geotechnical Engineers, Hawai’i Design Associates, Inc., Tom Nance Water Resource Engineering, Marine Research Consultants, and Clayton Group Services.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s oceans, coastal and marine resources. NOAA serves as the nation’s lead agency for international efforts to monitor climate change and to manage the world’s ocean resources.