UH Mānoa begins work on $57M Student Success Center
The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has launched an ambitious $57 million renovation project to transform Sinclair Library, originally built in 1956, into a state-of-the-art Student Success Center. (Courtesy University of Hawaiʻi)

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has launched an ambitious $57 million renovation project to transform Sinclair Library, originally built in 1956, into a state-of-the-art Student Success Center. 

The four-story, 115,000-square-foot project was initiated in June and is expected to reach completion by the fall 2025 semester, marking a new era in UH Mānoa’s commitment to modern, efficient and sustainable facilities.

Designed as a vibrant hub for student activity, the air-conditioned center will provide a space for students to gather, study and socialize, featuring comfortable seating, tables, and an abundance of electrical outlets. The building will house over 30 conference rooms of various sizes, on-site academic advising departments, a computer lab and a student store for food and beverages.

The center “will have a significant impact on the student experience,” UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno said in a news release. “It will be very exciting when it opens as students will have a brand-new facility where they can study, collaborate, learn from one another, take advantage of convenient academic services, grab a coffee and just be with each other.”

The redevelopment is led by the UH Office of Project Delivery, which in recent years has overseen the construction of the Isabella Aiona Abbott Life Sciences Building, which opened in 2020, and the expansion of the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex.

Brandon Shima, design manager for the Office of Project Delivery, said in the release that the center’s development was in response to “one of the campus’s biggest needs,” and added, “now it is our responsibility to turn that idea into a reality.”

The Student Success Center embodies a design-build project model, which utilizes a fixed sum, single contract for both design and construction. This method aims to deliver projects more efficiently and cost-effectively, compared to traditional design-bid-build options. It’s a national best practice for capital improvement projects, adopted by UH Mānoa in conjunction with hiring qualified project managers and construction procurement specialists.

The project’s design builder is Swinerton Builders, according to the university.

“We really want to create an environment and a place where students can thrive, and I think that’s really what is most important for us in this collaboration,” Swinerton Vice President Division Manager Aaron Yamasaki said in the release. “This is Hawaiʻi’s university and we want to make this great school even better and this project will do just that.”

The center is a beacon of sustainable construction, incorporating a rooftop photovoltaic system to generate renewable energy. The system is a crucial step towards achieving the 10-campus system’s goal of zero carbon emissions by 2035. It also aims for a LEED Silver certification, further underscoring the project’s commitment to sustainability.

Nestled next to Hemenway Hall, close to the Campus Center and the Warrior Recreation Center, and across University Avenue from the Residences for Innovative Student Entrepreneurs, a new entrepreneurship center/student housing facility set to open in fall 2023, the center will host the College of Social Sciences Digital Studios and a large first-floor study space capable of hosting and livestreaming campus events. 

It will also be the new home for the award-winning UH Mānoa Esports team, offering a modern gaming room for practice and competitions, and casual gaming facilities for all students.

The building’s availability for renovation was possible after the UH Mānoa Library agreed to relocate staff and materials from the now-closed Sinclair Library to Hamilton Library. 

Jan Gouveia, UH Vice President for Administration, stressed the importance of demonstrating the value of every dollar invested in the university. 

“We need to demonstrate to the State of Hawaiʻi that every dollar invested in UH will be spent efficiently and effectively,” said Gouveia in the release. “We thank the state Legislature and the governor’s office for its support and know that we have to continue to prove that university projects are worth funding.”

The project aligns with the goals of UH’s 2016 6-year Capital Improvement Plan approved by the UH Board of Regents. The board approved a new 6-year CIP plan in November 2022, aiming to create more modern, space-efficient facilities that leverage UH Mānoa’s unique sense of place.

Related Images:

More articles