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The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors could be retiring Aloha Stadium as their home field.
The UH-Manoa Athletic Department is apparently exploring the idea of building a 30,000-seat outdoor multipurpose stadium, drafting a request for quotes for architectural design services and conceptual renderings.
The proposed facility would need to be big enough to host intercollegiate, professional or international football and soccer games, according to an undated solicitation for design services obtained by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
It seeks design plans "to help determine a more defined scope, estimated budget cost, and a potential construction timeline for the facility."
It's unclear if the request has been made public. The state Procurement Office website does not have any notices for solicitations or bids matching the proposed stadium project.
A UH-Manoa spokeswoman said officials were not able to respond to the newspaper's questions Friday afternoon.
Some of the stated design preferences include:
- One-level seating deck with mix of premium club seating and aluminum bench seating.
- A large media/TV/radio press box and various-sized suite boxes.
- Multiple locker and event staging rooms, concession areas and adequate restrooms.
- Performance area to host concerts and large community events and a built-in retractable stage.
- An exterior designed to "recognize the history, culture and traditions of Hawaii with nostalgic elements reminiscent of the old Honolulu Stadium."
The solicitation says the project is "considered preliminary in nature and scope," and that the designs would be used to advise the Athletic Department. It adds that potential sites have not been identified.
The idea has not shown up on any meeting agendas for the Board of Regents' committees on Planning and Facilities or Intercollegiate Athletics and would seem to conflict with a moratorium the regents imposed last year on new construction projects.
Several legislators said they had not heard about plans for a new stadium.
State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Moanalua-Halawa) said she learned about the proposal Friday morning and cited concerns about a lack of transparency.
Kim said she checked with the committees that oversee state spending and the university and no one had heard of the proposal, "which troubles me because the university is coming before us with their budget, they're asking for all of these priorities, and for some reason we are not told -- or there's no transparency -- in their projects."
Kim cited several other UH projects that have been delayed or are experiencing cost overruns. The UH system also is faced with a repair and maintenance backlog that has swelled to nearly a half-billion dollars.
"There's myriad of problems, and all of a sudden now we see that there's a request for quotations for another stadium," she said. "So I'm very troubled by this. I'm troubled that the university has not been transparent with us and is not keeping us informed. And certainly I think that we need to take a second look at the requests in their budget."
Talk of a new stadium routinely comes up at the Legislature, but past proposals have focused on the state replacing the aging state-run Aloha Stadium versus UH building its own facility.
The state in 2011 estimated it would cost nearly $450 million to build a new stadium on the current Halawa site.
UH's cash-strapped Athletic Department pays for the operational costs to use the 39-year-old stadium for its home games -- as much as $500,000 per year.
The university does not receive any stadium revenues other than ticket sales. It doesn't get a share of the lucrative concession revenues generated during its football games, or from parking and sponsorship signage at Aloha Stadium.
Star-Advertiser reporter Derrick DePledge contributed to this report.
Credit: Nanea Kalani