Today, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie announced that his office is releasing $96.6 million in Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) for the state’s airports. Of that, about $8.5 million is coming to our own Kahului Airport. That’s roughly split between two line items:
• Terminal Fire Protection System Replacement gets $3,680,000
• Restroom Renovation (Phase 2) gets $4,789,771
There are obviously more renovation projects for other airports included in the funding… um, damn, that’s a lot of money for restroom renovation. And that whole “Phase 2” thing–a year ago, the state kicked $3 million to Kahului Airport for “restroom renovation” as well.
I know airport restrooms are important and all (especially to someone like former U.S. Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho), and the restrooms at Kahului Airport weren’t exactly on par with the Grand Wailea, but do they really need $8 million in new work? To find out, I asked Justin Fujioka, Abercrombie’s press secretary (who sent out the original press release today on the $96.6 million). He emailed back a few minutes later:
“Phase 2 will include public restroom renovations at Holdrooms D, E, F, Ticket Lobby and the Commuter Terminal. Renovation will eliminate outdated institutional environment and replace it with a new design concept that provides a Hawaiian sense of place and gives the appearance of a world-class facility. Improvements will include adding air conditioning, improved lighting, minimizing grout, replacing toilets and fixtures, and the use of native woods and finishes, which will result in a more pleasing environment that will also be easier to clean and be sustainable.”
Now I will say this: the current Kahului Airport restrooms most definitely lack both “a Hawaiian sense of place” and “the appearance of a world-class facility.” And if pulling out the old toilets and lighting and grout will accomplish that, then so be it.
“Minimal use of grout and groutless tiles will reduce and eliminate places that harbor bacteria and urine odors,” Fujioka clarified. “Ventilation upgrades will dry and cool the air to prevent urine odor from occurring.”
Oh, and if you think there are limits to just how sublime and wonderful an airport restroom can be, then you should fly over to Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas. Or just click here to see photos of the lavatory that Cintas named “America’s Best Restroom” in 2005.
Photo: FRED/Wikimedia Commons