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Kaua‘i Creative Technology Center granted $650K

WAIMEA — The Kaua‘i Creative Technology Center, a long-planned facility to build a local creative industry, is projected to break ground sometime next year.

The new construction timeline follows the Center’s receipt of $650,000 in federal Community Project Funding, announced by U.S. Rep. Kaiali‘i Kahele (HI-02) on March 10.

When complete, the Center will occupy 2,800 square feet of renovated office space within the West Kaua‘i Technology and Visitor Center in Waimea Town.

The groups behind the project, the nonprofit Kaua‘i Economic Development Board and the County of Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development, claim the Center can enable high-paying opportunities for locals.

“The overall vision and goal of the Center is to have a place to foster creative technology skills that can potentially provide a living wage, which would keep our residents here on Kaua‘i,” the KEDB and OED said, in a joint response to The Garden Island’s inquiries.

“We also want to answer the call of the Kaua‘i General Plan, the West Side Community Plan and the Kaua‘i Comprehensive Economic Development Plan to expand opportunities for innovation and tech-based business, diversify the economy with living-wage jobs and to utilize county facilities to support shared workspaces and makerspaces,” the groups’ statement continued.

The $650,000 announced by Kahele represents more than half of the $1.2 million needed for renovations, equipment and management at the Center in its first year. It also prompted the Center’s team to begin work to release a Design-Build RFP.

The Kaua‘i Creative Technology Center will feature professional sound recording, photo and video studios, collaborative workspaces with editing equipment that can handle large media formats and 3D design, and high-speed internet.

Public testing services for technical certifications and licenses, including Praxis and Pearson VUE, will be offered as well.

“The limited amount of available testing centers on Kaua‘i leaves professionals having to travel to O‘ahu to obtain certifications, licensing, etc.,” the development board and County said. “Logistical costs alone dissuade employers and employees from coordinating the associated preparation, travel, and lodging.”

The Kaua‘i Creative Technology Center is also a proof of concept, as its creators hope to ultimately scale more locations throughout the island.

The Kaua‘i Economic Development Board and its partners will offer other creative industry programs before the Waimea site opens.

An islandwide 48-hour film challenge will be held this July (participants must register by June 28. See kauaicreativetechnologycenter.com/film-challenge for rules and registration information).

Events put on hiatus by the coronavirus pandemic, including Kaua‘i Fashion Weekend and state-sponsored producers and writers workshops, are expected to return sometime in 2023.

Long time coming

The current version of the Kaua‘i Creative Technology Center is the latest in a series of retooled plans.

An article published in The Garden Island in 2017 reported a local digital media center and production facility was first proposed sometime in the mid-2000s.

By 2017, the Center was slated to become an 8,500 square-foot facility built next to the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall and Wilcox Elementary School. Had it come to fruition, the Center would have carried a reported preliminary cost of less than $10 million.

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Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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