KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Farrington High School meets Kamehameha in August to open the 2017 football season, the Governors and their fans will experience one of the greatest joys in sports for the very first time.
Despite being one of the most storied prep football programs in Hawaii, the Farrington Governors have never hosted a regular season varsity football game on their Kalihi campus.
The reason is simple: Until this year, they've never had a stadium that allows them to do so.
That changed on Thursday, when the school held a commemoration ceremony to officially open the brand new, $19.3 million Edward 'Skippa' Diaz Stadium. The gleaming facility is expected to be the school's centerpiece for decades to come.
"This is something that's a long time coming for the kids of Kalihi," said Harold Tanaka, Farrington's athletics director. "We've me never played a home game here. We've always been at the stadium, Roosevelt. Now we get to play in front of our community, where they can walk to our games."
Work crews are still applying some finishing touches, but the facility largely stands completed. Within the stadium, shiny maroon lockers await students inside a new locker room that will accommodate both the JV and varsity teams. Laundry and equipment rooms are connected to storage areas for uniforms and other gear. A new athletic training room stands ready to be furnished.
Outside on the field, the school's 'G' logo was painted onto the artificial playing surface months ago. The 2016 football team was able to practice on the field, but could not host games this year until the stadium seating was finished.
Those stands will hold more than 3,000 Farrington fans. A new press box sits atop the bleachers, ready for action.
Harold and Alice Nakamoto, friends of the school, donated $25,000 for an upgraded scoreboard. Donna Takeda and Central Pacific Bank chipped in $2,500 for field equipment.
The end result? A stadium the entire Kalihi community can be proud of, says Tanaka.
"It will be an indescribable boost," said Tanaka. Good education, good facilities, good opportunities for the kids. I'm just disappointed it didn't happen sooner, for our senior class this year."