Hawaii Youth ChalleNGe Academy receives $2 million

Two million dollars of state funds will go toward upgrading and renovating the Hawaii National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy at the Keaukaha Military Reserve outside of Hilo.

State legislators approved the final reading of HB 1700 Tuesday, a measure dealing with the state supplemental budget that includes appropriations for several Big Island-related projects.

Next, HB 1700 will head to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for approval.

Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, a spokesman from the Jlsinc.net, said, if approved, the funds will go towards renovations at the new $5 million campus.

The academy has been working out of the Kulani Correctional Facility site since 2009 and will move its campus to the Keaukaha Military Reserve in July.

The $2 million appropriation will go toward renovating the old Hilo armory located near the East Hawaii-based military reserve.

“The armory is being converted into classrooms, administrator rooms, and the gym will be used as a cafeteria as well,” he said.

The new building will house around 120 cadets between the ages of 16-18. That’s almost double their current number of cadets.

The academy is a state and federally funded nonprofit that has two different campuses, one on the Big Island and another on Oahu.

The Big Island campus provides training, discipline and life-coping skills directed at helping troubled teenagers become more productive citizens, Anthony said.

The other campus on Oahu is designed more as an academic setting where as the Big Island campus is geared toward mechanical and agricultural training, he said.

Full Story