Lawmakers plot study for stadium in West Oahu
State lawmakers are calling for the University of Hawaii to study ways to build a new stadium in West Oahu.
That means the university also has to figure out what to do with run-down Aloha Stadium and how to make money from the site to pay for a new stadium, according to legislators.
The bill calling for the study, House Bill 2429, started as a plan to use Aloha Stadium to help finance athletics at UH by turning over the stadium to the university.
But UH officials said they did not want it, and the Stadium Authority objected, saying the plans would not make enough money.
The Senate changed the bill into a study but noted in a committee report that "it may not be in the best long-term interests of the public to maintain the current stadium in perpetuity."
The new version of the bill cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday. It is expected to pass the Senate and move to a House-Senate conference committee meeting next month for legislators to work out differences.
While the original bill was opposed by both UH and the stadium managers, the modified plan is supported by both parties and the Hawaii Government Employees Association.
Sam Callejo, university vice president for administration, told lawmakers that UH would need help in preparing the study.
"We are willing to work with the many stakeholders involved, such as the federal, state and county agencies, as well as the private sector in conducting a study," Callejo said, adding that UH would need at least $250,000 for the study.
The Legislature did not include a specific appropriation for the study.
The issue is complicated because Aloha Stadium sits on federal land, but the Legislature envisions getting revenue from use of the existing stadium site to finance a new recreation facility.