Turf battle lingers between Radford High School and US Navy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Turf battle lingers between Radford High School and US Navy

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

After two seasons of field renovations and home games played at Aiea High School, the Radford Rams football team is ready to be back on home turf.

But problems linger even after the U.S. Navy says its work in restoring the field is finished. 

"You tell me, if a kid's running and going to step in that (hole) with cleats on, he's not going to twist his ankle break his ankle?" asked Radford High School's Athletic Director Kelly Sur.

Sur said the Navy did a lousy job. The two-month old turf already has holes, weeds, patches of brown grass and uneven surfaces.

In late 2013, the Department of Education started work to install a new artificial track, but soon discovered the soil contained dangerous levels of arsenic, lead and mercury -- the remnants of a former military dump site.

The Navy took full responsibility and promised a field better than before, but State Senator Glenn Wakai is still waiting.

"They've done about 95% of the work," said Wakai. "They've taken the ball all the way to the goal line, but they haven't been able to and are unwilling to punch it over and have a real big score for this community."

The Navy issued the following statement Tuesday:

"We have a deep and abiding relationship with Radford High School, whose namesake is Admiral William Radford, a Navy hero during and after World War II. Over nearly two years the Navy spent approximately $9.2 million remediating the field and track area at the school under an Environmental Restoration, Navy (ERN) project. The Navy completed work on the field utilizing the State Department of Education's (DOE) recommended turf contractor, including additional work requested by DOE, in late April. The Navy completed the football field portion of the work at or above standards set forth in the Department of Defense Unified Facility Criteria for football fields. At the final inspection on April 27, 2016, Navy's construction manager, Navy remedial project manager, and Hawaiian Turfgrass owner advised DOE personnel to provide proper maintenance and weekly mowing. Proper turf maintenance would have evened out natural field undulations over time. DOE acknowledged in a letter to Navy Region Hawaii that DOE had assumed responsibility for taking care of the field. After a careful review and several inspections, the Navy is confident we not only met the contractual agreement, but also provided services above and beyond what was initially requested."

With less than two months to go until the Ram's first home game, Senior Talatonu Von-Koppel is hoping the field will be ready in time for his final football season.

"Why are you going to just start something and not finish it that's how I feel," said Von-Koppel. "I just really want to be on there instead of just going somewhere else and playing, it doesn't feel that same."

The DOE said it does not want to prolong the project anymore and will be redirecting resources to finish the field. Money will be taken out of projects on the school's repair and maintenance backlog.

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