Decision to be made Monday on turf installation
By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
Gov. Ben Cayetano has given FieldTurf until Monday to determine whether it can install its artificial surface in time for the first scheduled event at Aloha Stadium in mid-August.
The governor set the deadline at a meeting yesterday with representatives from the Stadium Authority, Hawai'i Tourism Authority and two engineering firms. (FieldTurf CEO John Gilman spoke via telephone.)
On June 13, the Stadium Authority approved the installation of FieldTurf to replace the 3-year-old AstroTurf in the Halawa facility, setting an Aug. 2 deadline that Gilman had said was "virtually impossible" to meet.
The first scheduled event at the stadium is the Father Bray Classic on Aug. 24. The University of Hawai'i's football season opens on Aug. 31.
The Stadium Authority set the Aug. 2 deadline to give stadium staff enough time to move the tracks and prepare the field for football. That deadline may be moved back to accommodate FieldTurf.
Gilman has said the turf can be laid down in about two weeks. But geotechnical studies paid for by FieldTurf may reveal the subsurface needs more repair work than anticipated. Results from the study will be discussed at Monday's meeting.
"Information is still coming in," Stadium Authority chairman Eddie Hamada said. "We hope to possibly have an idea of what we want to do, when we want to start. We don't want to rush it. We had a lot of good discussion, and we're all going in the same direction. We want to see this thing in, see how soon we can get this in well."
With FieldTurf being installed in more than 50 fields this summer, manpower to put the turf in at Aloha Stadium may be difficult to round up. Shaving the crown and preparing the subsurface may cost between $2 million and $3 million. HTA will only contribute up to $500,000 for the installation; FieldTurf and the NFL agreed to pick up the remaining costs.
"There's no question about eventually having FieldTurf in Aloha Stadium," HTA interim executive director Rick Humphreys said. "The question is the time is takes to do it and making sure it's done right."
Advertiser staff writer Lynda Arakawa contributed to this report.