HONOLULU — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Dec. 16 dedicated its new NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center, located on Ford Island in Honolulu.
The facility, named for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), is the last phase of a campus environment that will house 15 NOAA offices with more than 700 staff, and most of the NOAA assets in Hawaii.
Acting NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan attended the dedication ceremony along with the late senator’s wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, members of the Hawaii congressional delegation, as well as Navy, state, and local representatives. Inouye passed away in December 2012, after a distinguished, nearly 50-year career in the U.S. Senate.
“Sen. Inouye was a great friend to NOAA and a great advocate for Hawaiians and our country’s natural resources. It’s fitting that we dedicate this building in his honor as a tribute to his years of public service,” said Sullivan, who is also acting undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “The Inouye Center brings together 700 NOAA employees and our many assets in Hawaii in a way that exemplifies a ‘One NOAA’ approach to fostering science, promoting outreach and education, and establishing new partnerships.
“This center symbolizes NOAA’s commitment to the people of Hawaii, to our Pacific region, and to our partners. Together, we have built this center. Together, we serve the people of this region. And together, we will carry forward NOAA’s science and stewardship for many generations to come.”
Inouye, with support from the rest of the Hawaii Congressional delegation and the State of Hawaii, led the effort to redevelop Ford Island and secure the necessary funding for a world-class facility to support NOAA’s science, service and stewardship mission in the Pacific Region. The $331 million project was partially funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and represents the largest capital facility project in NOAA’s history.
Last January, the facility was named in Inouye’s honor, in recognition of his significant contribution to ocean and environmental issues and his steadfast support for the construction of the campus.
The center is a 35-acre parcel on federally owned property and combines new facilities with the historic preservation of four buildings culminating into a campus that is environmentally sustainable, state-of-the-art, and Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) gold certified. Specifically, the project involves the renovation and construction of a new central office and laboratory facility, logistics warehouse and seawater facility, port facility, and piers for both large and small vessels.
NOAA anticipates the new facility will save more than $3 million per year in operating and other costs by eliminating office leases, lowering energy costs, and consolidation of information technology infrastructure. The site location inspired the designers to feature three key natural resources — water, wind, and sun — into a high-performance facility well adapted to its site, climate and culture.
“The IRC has a number of sustainable design features that will lower NOAA’s current carbon footprint by 50 percent, provide operating cost savings and protect the environment,” said Steven Gallagher, the center’s site manager.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources.