The University of Hawaii is poised to begin a major construction project on its Manoa campus.

Bidding for a new $55 million Life Sciences building will begin this summer, university officials say.

The 45,000-square-foot structure will be built on the current site of Henke Hall. The project includes the demolition of both Henke and Snyder halls.

The university saved approximately $20 million from last year’s appropriations, and $35 million was appropriated this legislative session, though the money has yet to be released from the governor’s office.

The building will serve as the new home for the College of Natural Sciences’ (CNS) biology, microbiology and botany departments, as well as the Pacific Biosciences Research Center and the Biological Electron Microscope Facility that serves 60 UHM labs.

Officials say this will be the university’s first project to be built through a design-build process, versus the normal design-bid-build-process. It involves a single contractor and contract for design and construction services with a fixed, upfront amount.

The university says the project will eliminate the high cost necessary to maintain Snyder Hall, which was built in 1962 and “is in terrible condition.”

The building accounts for $17 million of the university’s $426 million in deferred maintenance backlog (Henke Hall accounts for $2 million). Officials say it will cost $1 million to keep Snyder Hall operational for the next one to two years, and $5 million for the next five to 10 years.

If all goes according to plan, a request for qualifications and request for proposal will go out this summer, with a contractor selected by December 2015 or January 2016.

The project is expected to be completed and the new building open by fall 2019.