HONOLULU (KHON2) — Kilauea continues to erupt Thursday, June 8. Lava fountains and an active lava lake covering much of the Halema’uma’u crater floor is still visible. Officials said the lava fountain heights have gone down since Wednesday, June 7 but still remain about 33 feet high.

Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from near and far are heading to see Pele in action for a second day.

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“We were scheduled to be on this side of the island to see the park. Anyways, we arrived yesterday and found out she was erupting; so, it’s just perfect,” said Christy Carson, a Georgia resident.

“That’s why I woke up at 3:30 and got here a quarter after 5, and I was pretty surprised only a quarter of the parking lot was full. And everyone must be sleeping in this morning,” said Greg Datlof, a Puna resident.

However, for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, it’s the 2018 Kilauea eruption that left a lasting impact. For the last five years, scientists have operated out of temporary facilities in Hilo and a warehouse in Keaau after the existing site at Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park was destroyed.

“General rule is we don’t go into these buildings because of the damage,” said David Phillips, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Deputy Scientist-In-Charge. “At least the one you can see with the tower– there are cracks in the walls of the basement; and the upper building, there are cracks in the floor, the ceiling tiles.”

After the damaged experienced to the facility during the 2018 Kilauea eruption, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has had to shift operations.

“People are distributed among all these different buildings and our instruments and equipment. So, when we’re responding to this eruption, we can’t go to one place. We have to go to this building for this, and we have to go to this building for this. So, it obstructs our ability to respond effectively,” said Phillips.

Now, a project for a new and permanent Hawaiian Volcano Observatory research center is moving along. The new facility will be nestled on 6.8 acres of state-owned land near the University of Hawaii at Hilo. It will include two buildings with labs, offices, conference rooms and more.

“HVO’s mission is all about understanding eruptions better by observing science, and these new facilities will help us improve that and do it in ways we’ve never done before,” said Phillips.

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KHON2.com is told that construction is expected to begin in summer 2023 and will take a little over two years to complete.