Farrington High School’s football team was looking forward to finally having home games on campus this fall.
Turns out, they’ll have to wait one more year.
A new, state-of-the-art football stadium was supposed to be completed in June, but the Department of Education says the school is adding bleachers for the visiting team, so it will take longer to finish the job.
It’s disappointing news, especially for the seniors on the team, but the DOE says doing all the work at one time versus putting it off is just more cost-effective.
The artificial turf is laid out bright and green, and even the logo is almost done.
For Governors head football coach Randall Okimoto, a true home game on their campus is so close, he can almost taste it.
“When you get to see it forming right in front of your eyes, you know it’s almost there. Everybody’s getting excited about it,” he said.
The excitement will now have to wait until the fall of 2017, news that he had to break gently to his seniors.
“They were looking forward to it, but at the same time, they understand things happen and just look forward to the future of Farrington,” Okimoto said.
The DOE says everything was on track for the stadium to be done by this summer, but when the school broke ground last year, officials had the choice of installing lights or additional bleachers for the visiting team. There wasn’t enough money for both.
So the school chose lights so they can have night games, but the legislature freed up more money that now allows them to also have visitor bleachers.
“Because we were able to secure the funding, we were able to work with the other phase of this project, which is really going to give us a complete sense here for the campus,” said DOE communications specialist Brent Suyama.
While the seniors will not be able to play on the new field, they will at least get to practice starting this summer. The field itself will be ready even though the bleachers will not.
The original cost of the stadium, which includes an all-weather track around the football field, is $19.3 million. The visitor bleachers will include a bathroom at a cost of more than a million dollars. The capacity went from 2,500 fans to 4,000.
There was some thought of finishing the stadium without the additional bleachers so the team can play this fall but according to Suyama, “It’s important to get this done now, because if not, we would have heavy machinery going over areas which we had already built out. The track area could get broken. We would void any warranties and things like that. It could get much more expensive down the line.”
The Governors will continue to play home games at Roosevelt High School.
When the stadium opens, it will be named the Edward Skippa Diaz Stadium, after the late, longtime Farrington coach.