Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presided over a ceremony Saturday afternoon, Dec. 17, to break ground for a new phase of construction on the BYU-Hawaii campus.
The ceremony was held at the site of the future multi-use building to make official the beginning stages of construction for Phase I of a long-term plan for renovating and expanding the BYU–Hawaii campus. The first phase includes 11 new buildings including the multi-use building, two married student apartment buildings, seven single-student dormitories that will replace existing on-campus dorms, and one single-student apartment building, which will offer an additional on-campus housing option.
Construction of the 41,000-square-foot multi-use building is expected to be an 18-month project. When finished, it will house the College of Business, Computing and Government and the BYU–Hawaii Third Stake. The two-story building will include a double chapel, faculty and ecclesiastical offices, and a mixture of technology-enhanced classrooms.
In his remarks, Elder Holland made mention of the size of the crowd – a group of more than 300 community members, BYU–Hawaii students, faculty, staff and many other special guests. “What a compliment to the community,” he stated.
As in the commencement address he had given earlier that day, he compared Laie to Zion. He said there were very few places where the two centerpieces of Zion, a temple and a Church-owned university, are present. He referred to the construction of the new multi-use building, which would house both secular and spiritual learning, as symbolic of the coming together of these two centerpieces, naming it as one of the “terrific symbols emerging today on this campus.”
Making reference to the benefits of an education provided by one of the BYUs -- the others being in Provo, Utah, and Rexburg, Idaho, Elder Holland said, “There is no money in the Church except what our members offer.” To students in particular, Elder Holland stated, “What you get, you get because of the contributions of people all over the world who will never get a temple or a university in their community.” He emphasized the role BYU–Hawaii students play, saying, “You represent not only a very select and remarkable group, but you carry the baton.”
Finally, Elder Holland expounded on the importance of education, especially as Latter-day Saints. “Education is expensive, but it is not nearly as expensive as ignorance, and not only ignorance in the intellectual sense but also in a moral sense.” He said higher education needs to include moral education and designated BYU–Hawaii as a place where it can happen.
Also speaking at the groundbreaking was Glade Tew, dean of the College of Business, Computing and Government; Doug Chin, the managing director of the City and County of Honolulu; and Phillip McArthur, president of the BYU–Hawaii Third Stake.
After his address, Elder Holland, along with BYU–Hawaii President Steven Wheelwright, Vice President of Academics Max Checketts, CES Commissioner and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy Elder Paul V. Johnson, President Phillip McArthur, Doug Chin, Glade Tew, and Auntie Gladys Pualoa-Ahuna, a local “kapuna” or venerable community member, broke the ground for the new buildings. The group used shovels and the traditional Hawaiian o’o, crafted by local master carver Tuione Polotu.