HONOLULU (KHON2) — A renovation project at ​Lahainaluna High School’s stadium has the West Maui community voicing concerns, as the work could impact seniors’ graduation day.

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Typically, the tight-knit Lahaina community goes big every graduation season.

“I don’t think there’s any other school in the state of Hawaii besides probably Kahuku, where you have the community support, and a community involvement that is so strong,” explained Kekai Keahi, who graduated from Lahainaluna in 1991, and who’s son is currently a senior at the school.

Keahi said thousands of people show up to the school’s football stadium on graduation day, but in December Lahainaluna’s principal told parents and students a renovation project would begin at the stadium in early April, and the school’s smaller field would likely be the spot for this year’s seniors to graduate.

In an email from the Department of Education to KHON2:

The contractor RMY Construction, Inc., will renovate the existing running track and football field, completely replacing it with new synthetic surfaces and turf. Construction will begin in early April at an approximate cost of $2 million. Lahainaluna High is working with other Maui district schools to provide alternate locations for athletics programs that use the facility to minimize impacts on student-athletes. The school appreciates the kokua of students, parents and the west Maui community during the much-needed renovations.

“I think everyone’s main concern has been the capacity,” said Lahainaluna High School’s Senior Class President Madison Yu-Cua.

Boarder’s Field is the smaller field at Lahainaluna where many alums graduated in the past. However, as class sizes grew, the school moved graduation to the stadium to address the larger crowds.

“If it’s at Boarder’s Field, it’s going to be shoulder to shoulder for sure,” said Kehai. “My graduating class had 120 people, and they [Class of 2023] have 280 and my graduating class was kind of tight already.”

He said the view at the stadium is better too — with bleachers for spectators, opposed to ground-level seating at Boarder’s Field.

“I just hope that we can have as much — we can have the family that we want there,” said Yu-Cua.

Parents and officials said the school has been working on reconfiguring the smaller field so it can accommodate everyone in case the contractors can’t complete the project or portions of the project by graduation day.

“They are working with the contractor to try to see if they could break it up in the phases, from my understanding — to go ahead and complete a portion of the work, and then be able to have the field available just for the graduation and then pick up from there,” explained Sen. Angus McKelvey.  “So there still is a hope that they could possibly do it on the football field, as traditionally has been done.”

The DOE confirmed that the principal is working with contractors on the phased work possibility, but a final plan is not yet set.

“If an adjustment is made, parents and guardians will be notified by the school,” the DOE said in an email.

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Most understand the timing of the project is to allow for the school’s football team to have a new home field by fall.