By Aziza Jackson
KONA, Hawaii — Construction continues on a new $96 million Keahuolu Courthouse in Kona located on Kamakeha Avenue.
The courthouse will be a three-story facility with five courtrooms, a law library and self-help center open to the community, conference rooms, holding cells, witness rooms, attorney interview rooms, and a grand jury meeting room. There will also be more than 250 parking stalls for the public.
Officials broke ground on the project on October 2016, and the facility is scheduled to open in late summer 2019. The legislature previously approved a total of $90 million for construction costs in the 2014 and 2015 sessions.
“After years of conducting court business out of three separate locations, we are gratified that we will be better able to better serve the people of the west side by giving them the modern court facility they deserve,” said Third Circuit Chief Judge Greg Nakamura.
According to West Hawaii Today, the courthouse stands today as a shell. Much of the exterior work is reportedly complete with stately blue-hued windows installed and the facility’s name emblazoned on its façade. A grand lobby, courtrooms, temporary holding cells, and secure corridors are being constructed in the one-acre interior.
West Hawaii Today reports that the Keahuolu Courthouse’s first floor will feature the building’s only public entrance, a blind vendor program center, a self-help center, driver’s education, temporary holding cells, juvenile and adult client services and sheriffs operations.
The second floor will reportedly comprise two district courtrooms that can seat 80, one family courtroom, a traffic violations bureau, legal documents and conference rooms. On the third floor, there will reportedly be two circuit court rooms, a grand jury room, jury assembly and deliberation rooms, a law library and administrative offices.
The new facility will also include secure elevators to transport those in custody from temporary holding cells to secure holding areas near the courtrooms without having them walk through public areas.
Secure and confidential meeting rooms for attorneys, witnesses and others are also included in the new courthouses design.
A report from West Hawaii Today contributed to this story.