Star-Bulletin Sports


Fieldturf issue to be
decided tomorrow

By Dave Reardon

Sometime tomorrow, the saga to replace or not replace the playing surface at Aloha Stadium will likely come to an end -- at least for this season.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority was given two weeks by the Stadium Authority to come up with answers regarding emplacement of the product Fieldturf, which the NFL wants in the stadium.

If Fieldturf, or natural grass, is not put in to replace the current AstroTurf for the Pro Bowl, the NFL might take its all-star game to another city because it wants what it considers a safer field for players. If a decision is not made at tomorrow's 10 a.m. meeting at AlohaStadium, time could run out.

A new artificial surface must be installed in time for an Aug. 16 high school football doubleheader.

The Stadium Authority wants to know how much it will cost and how long it will take to prepare the stadium for the new surface before it gives the go-ahead.

The HTA -- which agreed to provide the NFL with a surface to its liking at Aloha Stadium -- was tasked two weeks ago at the last Stadium Authority meeting to come back with answers this time.

"(HTA sports manager) Tau Harrington went to New York and met with NFL officials," said HTA Executive Director Rick Humphreys.

Humphreys also said Fieldturf employees were here last week to further investigate stadium staff concerns about the new surface, such as drainage questions and how the surface affects the process of converting from one configuration to another.

Fieldturf CEO John Gilman said the entire job at Aloha Stadium would cost $877,500, of which $500,000 will be covered by the HTA. The rest of the money would come from the NFL and a further discount by Fieldturf.

Opponents of changing the surface question pulling out a $2.4 million AstroTurf surface that still has five years left on an eight-year warranty.

Tomorrow's meeting is open to the public.

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