HONOLULU (KHON2) — The cost to build a temporary stadium would be $5 million if the University of Hawaii (UH) football team plays its home games at the Manoa campus. Lawmakers would have to approve the funding and some say there are many benefits in the proposal.
The Rainbow Warriors are without a home for now because Aloha Stadium is not allowing fans in the stands. UH needs to make improvements at the Clarence TC Ching Complex to have the games on campus starting in fall, 2021.
Lawmakers, including the governor, visited the complex as UH shared details on what can be done to have it ready. Lawmakers were told that 7,000 more seats will be added so it can hold 10,000 fans. The turf will be replaced, the press box will be upgraded and a new scoreboard will be installed along with a new speaker system. The estimated cost is $5 million.
“There are some advantages to the UH proposal because what it would do is basically provide a 10,000 seat facility that would stay on campus and could be useable for other purposes,” said Rep. Gregg Takayama, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.
He adds that UH would be able to keep the proceeds from parking and the concession stands. UH has other plans to generate revenue — such as using the coaches’ offices as luxury box seats for sponsors — because they have a great view of the field. Takayama could not say if the legislature is willing to approve the $5 million with the State’s budget shortfall.
“All I’m saying is that it seems to be a proposal that’s worth examining in depth,” he said.
He says lawmakers also want to see what it would take to play at Aloha Stadium and use the lower level seats, and see if that might be cheaper. Maui’s War Memorial Stadium was also considered, but Takayama was told the logistics and the cost of traveling for every home game was not practical.
“So even though it could be considered for a game or so, it couldn’t be considered for more than the occasional game,” he said.
Lawmakers have to decide soon on the funding because UH needs a home stadium by September. A spokesman for UH says administrators will provide more details on the upgrades at a Board of Regents meeting on Monday, Feb. 4.