First game scheduled after long-delayed Maui stadium receives final approval

A long-awaited high school stadium on Maui finally has the green light.

Lahainaluna High School is gearing up for practice and planning a blessing, ready to have its first preseason football game at home.

The 10-year, $9 million stadium project paid for by donors, not taxpayers, received the okay to play Thursday, seemingly placed on the fast track since Always Investigating’s initial reports.

Actual construction has been complete for about a year, but hurdles kept popping up that pushed its opening day off, all the way past last year’s sports seasons and graduation.

After a slew of inspections, Maui County signed off on the certificate of occupancy this week.

The DOE could have made the school wait another couple weeks until its July 15 walkthrough, when a team would inspect and officially accept the facility.

But on Thursday, the school and its foundation got a pleasant surprise.

“We have gotten clearance from them that we are able to use the stadium from today on,” said Lahainaluna High School principal Emily De Costa. “We are excited because now we can have our preseason August game here. Sitting in the stands and having our fantastic view in front of us, it’s going to be an exciting day for every one of us.”

Besides the DOE saving about $15 million compared to what it would have likely cost to build the same project in the state system, the school itself will save thousands.

During football season alone, for example, every home game used to have to be played offsite in Wailuku or Upcountry Maui. Now, with home games actually at home, the school will save more than $7,000 in bus fees and many hours of travel time.

The principal says school leadership will meet to decide where to spend that saved bus money, most likely on computers.

If you’re on Maui, pencil in Aug. 8 for that first game in the new home field.

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