PAUL HONDA / STAR-BULLETIN
WORK ZONE: Renovations continued yesterday at Hemmeter Fieldhouse at Punahou, with a new floor and modernized bleachers scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2008-09 school year.
Punahou upgrades Hemmeter Fieldhouse
When Punahou's volleyball and basketball teams return to Hemmeter Fieldhouse next season, they're in for a treat.
The facility is currently undergoing a major renovation. Giant ceiling fans have been installed, and even on a holiday - yesterday was Kamehameha Day - the wood bleachers and floor were being torn out.
Soon enough, there will be a new floor and modernized bleachers.
"I know there were some problems. Sometimes they'd get stuck," Buffanblu girls basketball coach Mike Taylor said of the bleachers. The floor, with its hala tree school seal at midcourt, was in immaculate shape.
"The flooring was cool. They always did a great job fixing it, buffing it every year. To me, it always looked awesome," said Taylor, who guided Punahou to its third state title in four seasons last winter.
Boys volleyball coach Rick Tune played on Punahou's Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship team in 1991, but that team lost in the state tourney. In '92, he was a senior when the Buffanblu came up short in the ILH, but won a state crown.
"If you look real close, you can probably see where they re-varnished over scratches and the blood spots," he said. "There've been a lot of battles and wars in there."
Neither Tune nor Taylor, who remembers Hemmeter Fieldhouse as the "new gym" in the early 1980s, can recall this much renovation to the facility.
"One of the great things about that is, a school like Punahou has the resources to change the floor any time, but they really value the consistency and simplicity of what goes in there," Tune said.
The only drawback about the renovation is that Punahou's summer basketball leagues were put on hold. Punahou's Division I girls are playing in leagues at Kalani and Kaimuki (varsity). The D-II girls are in Kalaheo's league, and the intermediate teams are at Mid-Pacific's league.
"It's like back in the days, practicing on the outside court," said Taylor, who noted that the summer teams are being coached by Alan Lum and Al Ching.
A sense of nostalgia wasn't lost on some of the boys volleyball players, who got permission to scoop a few of the wooden strips of the floor as souvenirs.
"We talk about history and legacy, respecting the people who came before you," Tune said. "I think it's great that they really connect with the history of that gym, especially as 16-year-old kids."