Deteriorating bleachers prompt safety concerns in Kahuku

The bleachers at Kahuku High School have been deteriorating for years. Some people in the community say they’re just a disaster waiting to happen.

The school is currently waiting for $300,000 from the state so it can replace or renovate the aging bleachers. The money was approved in last year’s state budget, but has yet to be released.

“The only thing that’s in our control right now is to hope that the process for the funding moves through and we can start the design process from there,” said Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokesperson for the Dept. of Education.

KHON2 checked with the state’s budget director to find out what’s happening with the money. He says the paperwork still needs to be processed and the earliest that could happen is between 30 and 45 days. From there, it would be up to the governor to release the money.

The school’s principal says a maintenance worker discovered the corrosion last year and, in the past couple of weeks, the condition has worsened.

On Wednesday, KHON2 found only a portion of the bleachers taped off and no other signs telling people to stay off. The principal said they weren’t closed and on Friday, the DOE said they were not in use.

Residents are hoping something happens soon. “The bleachers are much aged,” Kahuku resident Timothy Pinto said. “They’ve been part of the school’s facility for a good amount of years.”

Even a state lawmaker says the repairs are long overdue.

“It’s definitely a very, very serious concern,” said Rep. Richard Lee Fale, (R) Waialua, Haleiwa, Pupukea, Kahuku, Laie, Hauula, Waiahole, Waikane, Sunset Beach, Punaluu, and Kaaawa. “Our fans get excited when we score a touchdown. You’re jumping up and down. Those bleachers have been put to good use over the last few years and, you know, I think we’ve just reached a point where they need to change.”

The hope is to have the bleachers fixed in time for the football season.

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