Study recommends new athletics stadium be built in Halawa

Nearly 40 years after the opening of the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, a comprehensive site-study is recommending that the state look into building a brand-new stadium.

Nothing has been finalized yet, but the report, prepared by consulting firm Foley and Lardner of New York, recommended building the new stadium nearby on the lower Halawa parking lot. It would hold 30,000 to 40,000 people and would cost between $132 million and $192 million.

The Aloha Stadium Authority Board isn’t ready to talk about it just yet, but former University of Hawaii football head coach June Jones agrees it’s time for a smaller stadium, but strongly disagrees with its location.

“It doesn’t need to be Aloha Stadium. It needs to be on campus,” he said. “The students can go, they can walk to the game, and all of a sudden you have a premium on tickets instead of trying to sell 50,000 tickets, here’s selling 35,000 tickets. Aloha Stadium’s property could be sold for a lot of money, very valuable piece of property for the state and I think there’s room at lower campus to do exactly what they’re saying. A 35,000 seat stadium, that would totally be sold, packed, sold out every game.”

UH football isn’t the only event held at the stadium and a move or rebuild could affect the Pro Bowl, concerts and the swap meet.

But at least one state lawmaker has been talking about a new stadium for years.

“Here’s what I see. We are spending so much money in terms of operations, repair and maintenance, making significant structural repairs,” said Rep. Mark Takai (D-Aiea). “From my perspective, the best solution would be to focus on brand new facility and put money into something that we can all be proud of.”

However, Rep. Takai said, a smaller stadium could mean Hawaii would run the risk of losing the Pro Bowl again.

The Stadium Authority will host an open house where the public can weigh in. It’s scheduled for July 10 at the Aloha Stadium Hospitality Room beginning at 5 p.m.

Read the full report here.

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