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For those entering Aloha Stadium for the first game of the season, there are some noticeable upgrades.
The orange lower bowl of seating at Hawaiian Airlines Field looks a little more, well, orange.
“We replaced the seats in the orange, the entire orange bowl. But during this off-season alone it was the north and south end zones that were replaced. So, that’s why it looks like a nice big orange bowl. Brand new,” Aloha Stadium Deputy Director Lois Manin said.
The work finished up just in time for the season opening game because the planned work swelled during the summer.
“We actually only planned to do the south. The planning was only for the south, but we actually did add the north when we tried to coordinate with some waterproofing that was going on in that area as well. So, we thought if there is an opportunity there to complete the north at the same time, why not?” Manin said.
There’s been a major facelift at the stadium over the past few years including a newly restored roof that doesn’t have that rust color anymore. It’s now a Rainbow Warrior green. But all the basic improvements came at a cost.
“It was actually just addressing the health and safety issues of the stadium because it is, you know, it’s more than 30 years old. So, we did address the health and safety issues with the capital improvement projects. So I would say upwards of $70 million,” Manin said.
The improvements are nice, but the senator for the area would love to see much more.
“I look at Aloha Stadium as a totally under utilized facility. It should be home to more than a swap meet and a few football games. It should be a place where we go to eat, be entertained, perhaps live,” said Sen. Glenn Wakai (D) Kalihi, Salt Lake.
Aloha Stadium is prime for development, according to Sen. Wakai.
The stadium and its parking lots sit on 104 acres. But there’s one catch — about half of that is controlled by the federal government, which limits development.
Sen. Wakai wants the state to buy the feds out at a cost of about $30 million.