HONOLULU (KHON2) — The UH Board of Regents has approved the proposal to expand the Clarence T. C. Ching complex next year that would raise the capacity to 17,000 fans.

Board members had serious concerns with the $30 million price tag but didn’t like the consequences of leaving the facility as is.

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UH expanded the former practice field into a 93-hundred-seat stadium last year after Aloha Stadium abruptly shut down. The Board of Regents just approved expanding it to 17,000 seats with construction starting in January and having it ready for the 2023 season.

The $30 million dollar price tag has the Board of Regents concerned, especially since the team plans to go back to the new Aloha Stadium when it’s built.

“It’s an incredibly large amount of money so if there’s a different configuration in which we can do it and keep the track there, because you’re spending a lot of money for something that is temporary,” said UH Regent Gabe Lee.

Keeping the track would cut the price tag in half but UH said that was not feasible. In the end, the board voted 9-1 in favor of expanding the facility. UH Athletics Director David Matlin points out that UH could lose its Division1 or FBS status if it does not attract at least 15,000 fans each game.

“We don’t really want to have five years or more of a facility that doesn’t meet NCAA requirements and the impacts even besides the NCAA requirements, the recruiting impact, the fan base retention impact also, and just the current student-athlete experience,” he said.

With the Board of Regent’s approval, no one is happier than UH’s new head football coach Timmy Chang.

“We’re very excited and I know our football team is and the state should be excited too that there are going to be more seats for them to come and watch, especially when this thing starts to get rocking,” said Chang.

Another reason for expanding the TC Ching Complex, UH says there’s still some uncertainty on when the permanent stadium in Halawa will actually be ready.

The new stadium is supposed to be ready for the 2026 season but at the Stadium Authority meeting on Thursday, there was already talk of more delays.

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“All of the timelines we have been pitching to date have been to issue the RFPs by the middle of this year, so we are already pushing into delays,” said Chris Kinimaka, state public works administrator.