HONOLULU (AP) - The University of Hawaii is protesting the loss of the most lucrative contract in the school's history.
The university has filed a bid protest with the federal government after losing a contract worth as much as $181 million over the last decade to run a supercomputer center on Maui.
When the university announced the contract to operate and manage the facility in 2001, it was hailed as the largest contract in the university's history.
Earlier this month, the Air Force announced that it had awarded the new contract to a Mainland defense contractor. The Maui High Performance Computing Center in Kihei is one of six supercomputer centers run by the Department of Defense.
"This was a hard-fought full and open competition that began over two years ago and put UH head-to-head against major corporate defense contractors that compete for these contracts for a living," the university said in a statement. "UH and all our partners realize that defense contracts of this magnitude are extremely competitive."
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's spokesman Peter Boylan said it's disappointing that the university didn't prevail.
The university was one of four bidders for the new contract. McLean, Va.-based SAIC won the contract, which begins Oct. 1. A spokeswoman said the company can't comment because the bid is being protested.
The Maui center is staffed with military, university and subcontractor employees. It's not clear how many university jobs will be lost because of the contract change.
According to the SAIC website, the company was seeking "experienced professionals and incumbent staff" for assignments at the Maui supercomputer center.