Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Historic Hawaii Foundation Announces its Preferred Alternative for the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium


• The Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium was built in 1927 to be a “living memorial” to honor the men and women who served during the Great War (World War I).

• The 1921 legislation creating the memorial specifically states that it, "...shall include a swimming course at least 100 meters in length."

• Designed by architect Louis P. Hobart, the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium is listed on the National and Hawai‘i Registers of Historic Places and is significant for its contributions to the history, architecture and culture of Hawai‘i and America; embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type; possesses high artistic value; and provides social, cultural, educational and recreational values which contribute significantly to the history and culture of Hawai‘i and the nation.

• Although the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium has deteriorated since its initial construction in 1927, in 2001, over four million dollars of repairs were completed on the site including a façade restoration and the rehabilitation of the bleachers and public restrooms.

• The estimated financial costs for stabilization and preservation in place of the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium are less than or comparable to estimated financial costs for the demolition of the structure, and examples from other restored salt water pools demonstrate that the pool could be re-engineered to meet current standards at less cost than demolition.

• Adverse environmental impacts that would occur from the demolition of the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium would have a negative effect on the reef and marine life, and the debris from the demolition would take space in a landfill, and such demolition would cause the loss of embedded energy inherent in existing structures, as well as the expenditure of new energy for the conveyance of materials.

• Proposals to demolish the historic structure will face regulatory, permitting and legal challenges that will be unpredictable, time-consuming, expensive and cause additional delays.

• It is in the best interest of Hawai‘i to preserve its uniqueness and identity for the benefit of all its residents as well as its visitors.

• It would be unconscionable to destroy a Memorial that commemorates the sacrifices of Hawaii’s citizens who gave all in service to their communities, nation, and world; and

• Stewardship of the historic, cultural and natural resources of Hawai‘i is the ethical and moral obligation of the people of Hawai‘i.


RECOMMENDATION: Historic Hawai‘i Foundation SUPPORTS the stabilization, preservation and rehabilitation of the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium.

• HHF recommends that the immediate strengthening, repair and stabilization of the structure’s frame be completed per the plans that were halted in 2005, including the sea walls and deck.

• HHF recommends that simultaneously with resuming the work to stabilize the structure, that engineering, planning and permitting be undertaken for the re-design of the pool.

• HHF recommends that the City engage in dialogue with state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, business organizations and other stakeholders to craft a public-private partnership for the long-term rehabilitation, maintenance and operation of the facility.