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Hawaii Close to First-Responder Tech Campus Development

The proposed first-responder technology campus would be a hub for 19 agencies and include space for outdoor training and operations, office space, hotel rooms, apartments, and a competition swimming pool.

A yellow fire truck parked in front of the ocean in Hawaii.
Hawaii Beach
A plan to develop a $300 million-plus technology campus for first responders that has been in the planning stage for almost a decade may be nearing fruition as lawmakers seem poised to appropriate $100 million to begin construction.

The campus would house state, county and federal first-responder agencies in Mililani, where training and operations take place for 19 different agencies on a 243-acre base. Construction could begin as early as later this year or next year.

The campus would include office space equivalent to a 37-story tower, a 2,000-stall parking structure, classrooms, a 450-seat auditorium, a warehouse, a cybersecurity data center, an indoor shooting range and outdoor training facilities for practicing tactical raids, rescues and the like.

The campus would also include up to 500 workforce housing apartments, a 150-bed hotel and a 100-bed dorm, as well as retail space, a community center, a running track and a competition swimming pool.

The first phase is projected to take about three years at a cost of about $100 to $150 million and would consist of developing infrastructure, such as roads and utilities on land that was once a pineapple plantation.

The cost of the project could total close to $470 million, according to a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

There is opposition among locals who say they don’t want the area to become a “cop city” and are concerned about militarizing public safety. They say that money could be better spent on food production or affordable housing.

Michael Vincent, deputy director of administration for the state Department of Law Enforcement, said in testimony to the Hawaii Ways and Means committee that the campus would benefit the public by providing a permanent home for agencies and would consolidate training and operations.

James Ireland, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, told the Star-Advertiser that the location is critical. “This is an ideal and important location as we contend with things like sea-level rise. This is very far from the shore and has proximity to really all parts of the island via the different freeways,” he said. “And so it really would be ideal for Honolulu EMS and the disaster services that we provide.”