Aloha Stadium could meet its end sooner than expected.
The Stadium Authority, a nine-member panel that oversees the 45-year-old facility, has plans to consider demolishing the existing stadium to make way for a new, 30,000 seat stadium over the same spot as the existing 50,000 seat venue.
State officials had originally planned to keep the stadium operational while the new one was constructed just makai of it.
But that would have meant relocating gas, water and sewer lines, which could add costs to the project, Chris Kinimaka, administrator of the state’s public works division, told the stadium board at a meeting Thursday.
The board has plans to meet May 6 to further consider the financing of the new stadium, where exactly it should be located and whether to move forward with demolishing the existing stadium sometime in 2022 — a concept that seemed to gain traction among board members at the meeting Thursday.
Kinimaka said that demolishing the stadium early could save the state up to $10 million. It also means the state could cancel contracts totaling about $1.25 million for maintenance work already being performed on the stadium, according to Kinimaka.
She told the board that the decision to demolish the current stadium needs to be made by June to keep the project on track.
Stadium Authority Chair Ross Yamasaki also suggested holding off on a $300,000 study on the stadium’s structural integrity. A 2017 study found that the state would need to spend upwards of $400 million just to bring the stadium into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“It’s hard for me to imagine the cost of the structural repairs required is going to be better than what it was when we last revisited it a couple years back,” Yamasaki said.
Ryan Andrews, the deputy stadium manager, gave a bleak update on the state of the stadium. He described light fixtures hanging from support beams, a leak into locker rooms caused by a sewer line and a subwoofer that fell into the stands. All of those speakers had to be removed, Andrews said, because workers discovered the boxes holding them were waterlogged and rusted.
Andrews also said that other minor rust repairs were still taking place, such as repairing parts of railings along the outside of the stadium.
“We’ve got one welder, and as you can imagine, that welder is very busy in our facility,” Andrews said.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell