Speakers question downsizing Aloha Stadium
HONOLULU — Eight speakers commented Thursday on proposals for a new Aloha Stadium, and most said the state should not limit itself to a new facility with fewer seats.
“I think it would be a travesty to limit it to 30,000 seats,” said Kent Untermann, a businessman and former University of Hawaii football player. “I think we really need to go big or UH football will not exist if we go to 30,000.”
Aloha Stadium starts its 40th season in August. The state Department of Accounting and General Services has estimated the stadium needs $120 million in improvements to operate in the next five to 10 years, according to consultant Foley & Lardner, a New York law firm.
Foley & Lardner in a June 26 report to the Aloha Stadium Authority recommended a “30,000 to 35,000-seat stadium on the lower portion of the (current) stadium site.” The new stadium could be built for $132 million to $192 million, the consultant said.
A Los Angeles firm commissioned by the University of Hawaii in a report this week offered the concept of a 30,585-seat multipurpose facility built for $165 million to $190 million, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Only about 40 people appeared at the Aloha Stadium Authority meeting.
Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said his group contends the seating capacity of 35,000 to 40,000 would be sufficient if luxury or VIP boxes are included.
McCartney also urged that consideration be given to a design that allows for the addition of temporary seating.
The new facility should accommodate multiple sports and concerts, festivals, exhibits and large meetings, he said.
Other speakers urged the authority to consider uses for the stadium by groups other than the university.