Cooke Field renovation project moves forward

Tim Grasso
Tim Grasso

By Leland Kim - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) -  The lowest bidder in the contract to renovate University of Hawaii's Cooke Field was announced on Friday afternoon.  This after controversy surrounding which landscape contracting license is needed to put synthetic turf on large athletic fields.

The bid still has to go through UH Manoa's approval process, and the question of licenses may come up once again.  So, a bunch of people are still wondering who will renovate Cooke Field and if it will be finished on time.

Tim Grasso and the rest of the UH Warriors look forward to kicking off the new season as defending WAC (Western Athletic Conference) champions.  For now, they have to practice elsewhere because Cooke Field has seen better days.

"It would be a huge thing if we could actually get on this field," said Grasso, the Warriors kicker and a senior at Manoa.  "Right now, it's not really used that much.  The track's great but to actually have a practice out on this field would be great. It's right next to the locker room."

The university is moving forward to renovate Cooke Field. It finalized the bidding process Friday afternoon and the difference between the two lowest bids?  A mere $20,000.

But the difference between the lowest and the highest bid is almost $400 thousand.

"For me that just goes to show, the need for competition, fair competition," said Logan Hamocon, whose company Sports Turf Hawaii had the lowest bid at $862,381.

Applied Surface Technology had the next lowest bid at $883,863.  Two other bids were $1.05 million and $.125 million.

Hamocon has a C-27 landscape contractor license, and his main competitor Dennis Sadowski, with Applied Surface Technology, has a C-68FF license.

Sadowski, who is on the contractors board, complained, and then was assigned the task of reworking the rules, according to the Contractors License Board's meeting minutes from October 2007.

The contractors board is looking into which license is necessary to actually do the job.

Hamocon did the work on Murakami Stadium, winning praise from the baseball team.  The football team looks forward to a similar type of synthetic turf.

"Practicing on turf is a lot better than on grass," said Grasso. "If your opponent is playing on turf, you should be practicing on turf.  It's tough for us because Aloha Stadium is so far away. We can't practice there but it would be huge to practice on Cooke Field."

Hamocon wants to make that happen for the Warriors as soon as possible.

"My team, my company, myself, we're ready to go," he said. "So just give us the work."

A much needed improvement to give the Warriors a field they deserve.

"We'd be stepping it up like other colleges and universities, and just seeing a program moving forward," said Grasso.

"Your prediction?  Back to back championships?" asked KHNL.

"Absolutely," said Grasso.

UH Manoa did not have an exact timetable of when this would all be finalized, but university officials say they are optimistic the work on Cooke Field will be started soon, so the Warriors can have it in time for the upcoming season.