HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaii at Manoa is moving forward to expand the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex that would increase its capacity to 17,000 fans. The plan is to have it ready for the 2023 football season.

UH was able to expand what was once the practice field into a 9,300 stadium last year after the state abruptly shut down Aloha Stadium, leaving the Rainbow Warriors without a home field.

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Athletics Director David Matlin plans to ask the UH Board of Regents to approve a plan that would expand seating capacity to 17,000 fans. One of the main reasons is that UH runs the risk of not qualifying as an FBS or Division One program.

UH cites the NCAA rule that stated, “Once every two years on a rolling basis, the institution shall average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football games.”

Construction will be done from January to August next year, so it should be finished in time for the next football season. Former Gov. Neil Abercrombie is all for it and said it should have been done sooner.

“It’s gonna cost more because we didn’t do what we should’ve done in the first place. Of course, it’s gonna cost more, inflation, whether we can get supplies and all the rest of that stuff,” said Abercrombie.

The total cost is $30 million. UH said it will use money from unused existing funds.

UH is planning to install new grandstands on the track, so the track will be moved to Cooke Fields. The stands in the Ewa End Zone will be replaced with a larger capacity grandstand, and additional seats will be added to the Diamond Head End Zone.

Part of the plan is to bring in the 75-foot wide video scoreboard from Aloha Stadium. UH said that will transform the look and feel of Ching Complex for the fans.

Matlin points out that having the expanded stadium “…will provide incremental positive net revenue of $1 million annually.”

Abercrombie wants the Board of Regents to approve the plan and said the legislature should help if more money is needed.

“Whatever it is, give UH the capital improvement fund, give them enough money to do what they need to do to get that extension,” he said.

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The plan will be presented to the Board of Regents on Thursday. We will let you know what happens.