HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii will be hosting football games on campus in Manoa for the first time in history.
The ‘Bows have played at Aloha Stadium in Halawa since 1975.
However, the stadium’s recent decision not to allow spectators prompted UH leaders to look for a Plan B.
They found it in their backyard.
The university plans to transform Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex into its new home turf by September adding seats, a scoreboard system and a press box to make it suitable for Division I games and fans.
“That sounds great to me! I live right here. Definitely be able to go more,” said Natalie Paliga, a student.
However, some neighbors aren’t thrilled about it.
“There are also questions as to what will be the impacts to noise and to traffic congestion,” said Dylan Armstrong Manoa Neighborhood Board Chair.
Armstrong said residents will ask UH leaders those questions at a board meeting on February 3rd.
“It’s a balancing act, right? Because we’re a university community, but then again, many of us are just trying to go about our day and we live with the university,” Armstrong said.
While neighbors worry about the games, the university is worried about its budget.
Last week, UH sent this letter blasting the Stadium Authority’s decision to ban all fans indefinitely, wiping out badly needed revenue.
By moving to Manoa, the university will avoid paying rent and gets to keep all the money from parking, tickets and concessions.
Instead of Aloha Stadium’s 50,000, Ching Field could hold about 2,500.
The Athletics Director said this would “offer a more intimate experience for our fans.”
Former UH player and coach Rich Miano calls it an investment and sees the field as new entertainment venue.
“I think this is gonna be one of the best pieces of news in terms of revenue producing opportunities for the University of Hawaii and I think the fans will enjoy this experience immensely,” Miano said.
UH hopes to have the field ready for next fall’s season opener on September 4th against Portland State.
The Rainbow Warriors will use the field for at least three seasons or until a new Aloha Stadium is built.
The cost estimate for the renovation has not been released.