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                Public Communications Division

                            Department of Customer Services

                            City & County of Honolulu



REVISED RELEASE*                                   

August 28, 2002



            The City recently celebrated the grand opening of both the Hanauma Bay Marine Education Center and other major improvements to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.  The ceremony included a traditional Hawaiian blessing, untying of maile and keiki hula by Halau Hula Olana.  


            The $13 million complex was designed to protect the marine ecosystem that makes the Bay one of the most spectacular natural resources in Hawaii--if not the nation and the world.  The project was paid for by the $3.00 fee collected from each visitor to the Bay (13 years and older) who was not a Hawaii resident.


            Mayor Jeremy Harris said, "We undertook this project several years ago with three goals in mind.  First, it was clear that we had to do more to preserve and enhance the geology and natural ecosystems that make the Bay and its surrounding area so special. 


            "Second, we wanted to optimize the Bay as a recreational resource for Hawaii's people, and third, we knew that more needed to be done to educate all who came to Hanauma Bay so that they could fully appreciate and enjoy this natural wonder." 


            The new Marine Education Center includes a total floor area of 8,100 square feet and an additional exterior covered area of 2,687 square feet.  It is part of the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve that includes both the upper park area and the lower bay area.  Improvements were made to both areas, and two new trams shuttle between the upper and lower parts of the preserve. 


            New facilities in the upper area house exhibit space, a small theater, an education alcove, training rooms, offices and a gift shop.  A number of exhibits—including several interactive computer-driven stations—are located in the center.


            The complex is open each day except for Tuesday.  During the summer, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is open to the public from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., with the last tickets sold at 5:30 p.m.  The fee for entry into the Center and the Bay remains at $3.00.  Parking costs are a dollar per vehicle, with no time limit, and tram fees are 50 cents for the trip down to the Bay and a dollar for the uphill return to the parking area. 


            A food concession is housed in a separate 1,645-square-foot building on the park's upper level.  Snorkel concessions, dressing rooms, an information kiosk, lifeguard storage and support facilities are located at sea level, next to the Bay.  New restrooms were built in both areas.


            First-time visitors to the Bay begin at the Marine Education Center with required viewing of a seven-minute orientation video in the Center’s small auditorium.  The production provides a glimpse of Hanauma’s marine life, the geologic history of the Bay, and ways to protect and care for the nature preserve.  It includes music specially composed by the popular singing group Na Leo. 


            A variety of new exhibits--some interactive--are housed on the Center's upper floor.  Marine life identification posters show fish, coral and shells.  A Geology display with models that depict the various stages of volcanic activity that formed the Bay gets a lot of attention.  Other displays outline the Bay's history and its cultural past.  Seven interactive touch  screens are among the most popular of the educational displays.  Four cover marine life identification and the other three show video clips of life on the reef.


            The outside of the Education Center is graced by a beautiful 6-by-12-foot ceramic tile mural with polished granite depicting creatures that live in the Bay, such as turtles, a colorful array of fish and other sea life.  The mural is an ideal teaching tool, because it can be touched, written on and wiped clean.  Fish names can be taped on without harming the surface.  Local artist Thomas Deir donated that piece of art.  He has also done murals in 13 elementary schools throughout Oahu.


            A multi-stainless steel/nickel sculpture of Hawaii's State fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, by Big Island artist Paul J. Saviskas, will also be on display on the lawn next to the Education Center.  The four-foot-tall sculpture, entitled "Sleepytime," depicts the Humu, with is eyes half shut, nestled into a coral head.  Other artists whose work is on display include Herb Kane and Bill Braden.


            Construction work at the site began in April 2001 with the demolition and removal of existing buildings, building of walls, ramps, railings, roadways and walkways and installation of electrical, water, sewer and drainage improvements.  There were also landscaping improvements, including the removal of existing trees and the installation of a new irrigation system, trees and grass, topsoil and root barriers.


An existing turnaround area for vehicles was rebuilt.  New drainage and sewer systems, and beach shower facilities were added.  Special construction features the use of faux rock--cast from natural rock formations at the site--and landscaped, earth-covered buildings that blend into the natural environment.


            Planning and design consultants on the project were architects, Group 70 International, who master planned the improvements and designed the Marine Education Center; landscape architects, Walters, Kimura, Motoda, Inc. and Hawaii Design Associates; INK Architects, Inc., who designed the lower Bay improvements; and KFC Engineering Management, Inc., who were the construction managers.  The project contractor was T. Iida Contracting, Ltd. 



*Per Cynthia Bond, asst. director, Dept. of Human Resources and East Oahu Vision Team Leader

Friday, August 30, 2002

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