NOAA Announces $131.9 Million Recovery Act Contract to Complete Construction of the Pacific Regional Center

September 3, 2010

NOAA today announced a $131.9 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contract to Walsh Construction Company of Chicago to construct the main facility at NOAA’s new Pacific Regional Center on Ford Island in Honolulu.

The construction of the main facility is the final phase of NOAA’s Pacific Regional Center project. NOAA is partnering with the U.S. Navy to redevelop existing federal facilities on Ford Island to modernize and consolidate NOAA’s programs supporting management of coastal and marine resources and weather, tsunami, and climate prediction in the Pacific.

When complete the facility will encompass more than 300,000 square feet of lab and office space in two renovated World War II-era hangars and a third, new building that together will realize NOAA’s goal of an integrated facility.

“This Recovery Act funded project is central to our mission in the Pacific region,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This will be a world-class science, and operational research facility, enabling us to further promote international scientific, as well as local educational, partnerships.”

Currently there are approximately 600 NOAA employees and contractors in Hawaii. The Pacific Regional Center enables NOAA to move out of buildings that are overcrowded or have outlived their useful lives. By bringing the programs together into one facility, NOAA expects to realize benefits in improved operations and mission performance, longer-term operational savings, and opportunities for greater program collaboration and synergy-both within NOAA and with external partners.

“The construction of the Pacific Regional Center will create approximately 3,000 jobs in Hawaii, real opportunities for businesses and working families struggling to find opportunities during these difficult economic times,” said U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. “The construction of this center is a significant investment in Hawaii and the Pacific Region, and I laud the efforts of everyone involved in this project for recognizing Hawaii’s importance as a research and operational hub.”

The facility reflects sustainable design principles, and is targeted for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

"As partners in environmental stewardship, we look forward to hosting NOAA's Pacific Regional Center on historic Ford Island,” said Rear Adm. Dixon R. Smith, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii. “NOAA's educational, environmental and energy-related insights will be of great benefit to our Navy, to the state of Hawaii, and to our nation. We are pleased that Navy Region Hawaii can support their important work here in the Pacific."

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook at