Classes start Monday for Hawaii's newest college campus, but Saturday morning students, parents and an entire community got a sneak peak at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu.
Its colorful library tower rises up above former sugar cane land. It is designed to attract attention to the West Oahu campus, and maybe even attract the community.
"The art tower is designed to be a beacon so people would know where we are, and also be a beacon to draw people to our campus," said UH West Oahu Communications Director Kalowena Koeneiji.
Many came out for the grand opening ceremonies. After all, some had waited decades for the campus to be constructed.
"This is 40 years in the making, a lot of people have put in a lot of sweat and persistence to get this campus built," said UH West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni.
The new campus has nearly a 100,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space, equipped with the latest technology. Students will be able to receive baccalaureate degrees in careers like teaching, nursing and engineering. Fields Awakuni said will benefit the community.
"This is really a niche in the education marketplace that we are establishing for ourselves, in a small campus setting," said the UHWC Chancellor.
While students said they were excited about being a part of something new, for many and their families, the key plus of the Kapolei campus is its location.
"It's closer to home, rather than driving down to Manoa and fighting all the traffic," said Michael Tabucbuc.
Even prospective students like the idea of a campus in their community.
Terry Viernes hopes her son, who is a junior at Kapolei High School, won't have to go far to get his college degree.
"I'd rather have him close by. Money-wise it would save a lot of money. It would be so good to have him be close to home," said Viernes.
When classes begin, most of the 2200 students will have transferred from the temporary Pearl City campus, but 220 are incoming freshmen.
Even though it is a brand new campus, there are already plans underway for future expansion as the school grows -- including stores, housing, an on site-farm and more learning areas.