Safety demands fixes at Aloha Stadium
Fixing the Halawa facility will cost about $129 million over five years.
ABSENT commitment from state leaders for a new facility, there is little choice but to put at least some money into repairs at Aloha Stadium, particularly because of safety issues.
The 30-year-old sports and concert venue will continue to deteriorate if restoration is set aside further, possibly costing more as time goes on.
State Comptroller Russ Saito told the Stadium Authority this week that about $129 million during the next five years is needed to fix a laundry list of problems -- rust, roofs, the electrical system, lights, scoreboards, grandstands and seats, restrooms and elevators for the disabled -- almost everything but the artificial turf that the National Football League replaced two years ago.
Saito said the stadium is safe for now, but postponing overhauls makes no sense even if a new stadium were in the works since new construction would take years to complete.
The $129 million price tag might be enough to push lawmakers and Governor Lingle to decide whether to pull the plug on Aloha Stadium and plan for a new one. Either way, funding will be the foremost issue.
Saito estimates a new stadium could cost between $440 million and $700 million. Location would be a problem since there are few unencumbered sites near population centers that are large enough for a stadium.
Modernizing Aloha Stadium, which cost $37 million to build, also would be difficult without closing it during renovations, which would mean the state would forgo income in the meantime. Moreover, the stadium's longevity remains in question. Lawmakers, who asked the administration to study the matter and report back this year, should examine the results before making a decision.
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