Hawaii's population is aging at two and a half times the national average. That's why State Health Department officials say it's crucial to have the appropriate resources ready.And there's a state project in the works to build a brand new nursing facility.
The facility would accommodate as many as 200 patients, and would also serve as a training ground for university students, and Health Department workers.
But the project is being met with some opposition.
This open space below the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe is where a brand new nursing home will be built.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the State to have new beds come in," said Dr. Chiyome Fukino, State Health Director.
This is an artist rendering of what the new facility will look like.
It'll sit on Hawaii State Hospital grounds.
"We will be leasing the ground for Avalon to build and operate a facility," said Fukino.
Avalon Health Care Group currently operates three health care centers in Hawaii and more than 20 on the mainland.
The new facility will have 150 to 200 beds -- a third of which will be used for psychiatric patients who are well enough to be released from the Hawaii State Hospital, but not well enough to survive on their own.
"The rest are for everybody else, anybody else. Anybody else who is there but needs to have dialysis or is on a ventilator can come into this facility," said Fukino.
But before the new nursing facility can break ground, the public charter school that occupies this building has to move out.
The building sits where part of the new nursing facility will sit.
The Health Department told Hakipu'u Learning Center on July 2nd that it must vacate the building by the end of this month.
"They feel they have a different position they should be there and while we can appreciate the fact that they want to remain there the reality is -- they cannot," said Fukino.
Hakipu'u Learning Center has 70 students, grades 4 to 12, and was originally brought onto State Hospital property by neighboring Windward Community College.
Hakipu'u does not pay the State Hospital any money to use its building.
"As a department and administration we've always supported charter schools and we hope that they will do everything in their power to find a place for the next school year," said Fukino.
But School administrators say that being evicted may lead to the closing of their school, and they're hoping the Governor will step in, to give them sufficient time to relocate.
But Health Department officials say they've given the school more than sufficient notice.
"Actually we've been talking to them about vacating since 2003," said Fukino.
And she says they've been keeping the school well informed as plans progressed.
"It's just gotten to the point that we cannot let this wonderful opportunity pass us by," said Fukino.
Hakipu'u administrators declined an on-camera interview today, and plan to hold a press conference tomorrow morning.