In March 2020, the Kehaka, Hawaii NIST campus located on the island of Kauai was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) along with the Fort Collins, CO as a multiple-property listing due to their exceptional national significance in the historic themes of science and engineering. These radio transmitter facilities are integral to receiving and transmitting the national standard for time calibrated through the atomic clock located at Building 1 at the NIST Boulder, CO campus as well maintaining the integrity of the nation’s radio airwaves.
Bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean shoreline and surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands (PMRF) on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, the 30-acre site has been leased from the US Navy since 1971 for radio station WWVH, with NIST owning and maintaining the buildings and radio transmitting antennae.
Pacific Ocean radio transmission has been a component of the NIST mission since the agency constructed the first such facility after WWII in 1948 on the island of Maui. The Kekaha facility took over Pacific operations in 1971, after serious beach erosion threatened its mission, receiving and relaying the National Performance Frequency Standard (standard time) since it went on-air that same year. The facility is considered a district of functionally related buildings and structures. The district consists of an approximately 4,500 gross square foot one-story concrete block radio transmitter station, associated storage facility, a solar array and nine omni-directional antenna structures as shown on the site map.
Surveyed and documented by professional architectural historians in September 2019 in accordance with Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended), the campus facilities were then evaluated using the National Register of Historic Places criteria for integrity and significance.
Because the campus has been determined eligible for listing in the NRHP, all proposed changes to the buildings, grounds and structures must comply with the Secretary of the Interiors Standards (SOI Stds.) and are subject to advance review and consultation with the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The point of contact for all communications with SHPO is the NIST Federal Preservation Officer (FPO).