WAHIAWA, Hawaii (KHON2) — A groundbreaking ceremony for a new civic center marked a big step towards expanding services beyond the city core on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz said the Wahiawa Civic Center has been in the works for decades.

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Sen. Dela Cruz was introduced to the idea over 30 years ago during his time on the neighborhood board.

“I would always hear community leaders at the time always asking, ‘When are you guys going to get the civic center?'”

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, (D) Wahiawa, Mililani, Whitmore Village

The site did not look like much on Wednesday, but officials said the area will look quite different in a few years.

“So satellite city hall will be moving here, DMV will be moving here,” Sen. Dela Cruz said. “Department of Health, Department of Human Services and a lot of other services that the Judiciary is also going to be bringing to Wahiawa is going to help provide access.”

Wahiawa currently has one courtroom, but it is on leased land. Hawaii’s Supreme Court chief justice said adding a permanent one at the civic center will be huge.

“We’ll have more office space, we’ll be able to bring more services out here into the community and be able to provide support here and engage with folks here and on the North Shore and elsewhere in central Oahu,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke said most folks do not care which office they need help from — whether it is State or City.

“They just know that they need these things,” Lt. Gov. Luke said, “and so a lot of times there is confusion about, ‘Okay, do I go to a State office at a County office or a City office? This is a dream for many of the communities where they can go to a civic center and they can have all the services that could be in their fingertips.”

The civic center will be situated right between California Avenue and Center Street. Officials said its impact will be felt well beyond Wahiawa.

“It’s a message that says we must continue to ensure that services are readily available to our people, even if they do not live in the urban core,” State Comptroller Keith Regan said.

“Not just our town, but it’s going to help the state. It’s going to help North Shore, Mililani and it’ll change the flow of traffic in so many different ways,” Sen. Dela Cruz said.

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Officials said the $76 million Wahiawa Civic Center will open by mid-year in 2026, if all goes to according to plan.