NOAA 2006-R915
Contact: Delores Clark
NOAA News Releases 2006
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broke ground today for its Pacific Regional Center on historic Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. The new center will bring together multiple NOAA operations currently scattered throughout the island of Oahu.

The move to Ford Island will result in improved operations and mission performance as well as longer-term operational savings. The consolidation will also provide greater synergy and integration across the agency and improve delivery of products and services in Hawai`i and the Pacific Islands.

“NOAA’s plan to develop the Pacific Regional Center facility on Oahu is a physical representation of the continued collaboration between NOAA and the state of Hawai`i to support essential atmospheric and oceanic programs and missions,” said U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“With this important step, NOAA makes a concrete investment in Hawai`i’s future that mirrors its daily contributions to the health and prosperity of our home through a broad spectrum of programs – from forecasting hurricanes and tsunami, to the management of our fisheries, to the education of our keiki, our children. This $250 million project will help to grow Hawai`i’s economy through construction jobs today, while ensuring the foundation for Hawai`i as one of tomorrow’s world ocean centers,” added Inouye.

“I would like to thank Senator Inouye for his leadership in developing a new Pacific Regional Center facility on Oahu and for his continued support of NOAA. The requirements for this facility are as diverse as our mission and Ford Island is the ideal site,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

The Ford Island site consists of an approximately 30-acre parcel on federally owned property. The proposed NOAA facility will be able to support NOAA’s 500 current employees and contractors, and expected future growth. Pier facilities enable NOAA to fully consolidate ship operations as well as seawater operations, laboratory and office space. NOAA will operate three ships from the facility– the Kai`imimoana, Oscar Sette, and Hi`ialakai.

The Ford Island site provides NOAA no-cost federal land for development, substantial cost savings due to major water and sewer infrastructure investments already being implemented by the Navy as part of its Ford Island Master Development project, and a workable balance between public accessibility and a secure facility.

The NOAA development will feature preservation elements to restore World War II-era buildings that will be adapted for NOAA use. 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.

Integrity of the location against weather and sea conditions was also a major consideration. According to Hawai`i State Civil Defense, the Ford Island site is located outside of the tsunami evacuation area, as defined by the Civil Defense Agency, due to its location within Pearl Harbor. Historic data for Pearl Harbor, with its narrow entry, indicate that maximum surge run-ups in Pearl Harbor were low. This was corroborated by a new NOAA tsunami modeling study for Pearl Harbor released on August 21, 2006.

NOAA is partnering with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), based in Hawai`i, which is providing local support for construction project management. NAVFAC is also providing design and construction services through contractors in support of the project.

In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. Starting with the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. The agency is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects.

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