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New Hawaii courthouse to centralize operations

September 1, 2019

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii court officials have announced plans to converge operations in a newly built courthouse expected to open next week, officials said.

The Keahuolu Courthouse is expected to open Sept. 3 for its first day of official operations on the Big Island just north of Makalapua Shopping Center, West Hawaii Today reported Thursday.

Attorneys and their clients have been informed of the move and that their cases would be heard at the new location, judges said.

The $95.8 million three-story courthouse will bring together all Family, Circuit and District courts cases that were operating out of three sites in north and south Kona, court officials said.

“This will be so much more convenient for the Kona community,” Judiciary spokeswoman Jan Kagehiro said. “Keahuolu Courthouse will have five courtrooms, self-help center, law library, traffic violations bureau, legal documents, grand jury room, jury deliberations room, and more.”

Custodies are expected to have private entrances and more security, officials said. There are also about 300 parking stalls including accessible and carpool parking and charging stations for electric vehicles.

“The public will have a full-service facility where they can take care of all court-related matters in a centralized, convenient, and secure environment, and can access an expanded self-help center where volunteer attorneys will provide legal information to assist them,” Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald said.

Discussion about building a centralized courthouse began in the ’90s and the vision of retired Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra became reality with support of the state Legislature, governor and lieutenant governor, Hawaii bar associations, and countless others, Recktenwald said.

Funding for the 140,000-square-foot (13,000-square-meter) judiciary complex was passed by the state Legislature and approved by Democratic Gov. David Ige in 2015. Construction began in October 2016.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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