The Hawai'i football program is stuck in a unique predicament with potentially disastrous consequences.
Aloha Stadium, home to Rainbow Warrior football since its 1975 building and the only stadium on the islands large enough to hold an FBS football program, is on the verge of being condemned and the state's authorities aren't aligned on what to do next.
One side would like to see a major renovation to Aloha Stadium as part of a multi-faceted economic development project. The stadium, projected to hold 35,000 seats, would be a public/private partnership with a projected $350 million price tag for taxpayers. The project would be modeled off of similar endeavors in Los Angeles and London. San Diego is currently pursuing a similar project to get San Diego State out of Qualcomm Stadium. (The Aztecs will play their 2021 home games in Los Angeles. That isn't an option for Hawaii.)
"It will be configured to support a variety of sports and entertainment events, including football, soccer, rugby and other sports that are played on a rectangular field. In addition, concerts, community functions and family-oriented events will be hosted in the facility," the project's website, funded by the state of Hawaii, says. "The multipurpose stadium would have a comprehensive array of fan amenities and support spaces to market new events, including additional luxurious seating options, more extensive concessions, and improved facility circulation."
On the other side of the issue, Hawai'i governor David Ige would like to see the state use its resources to refurbish the existing Aloha Stadium.
“It’s just the total cost of a replacement that’s really hard to fit into the budget based on all of the construction needs that we have,” the governor said, via KHON2.
A functional, safe Aloha Stadium would be a destination venue for various all-star and bowl games in addition to UH home games. (The Pro Bowl is unlikely to return due to reasons unrelated to Aloha Stadium.) And that doesn't count soccer and rugby games, concerts, and the like.
From where I sit, ripping Aloha Stadium down to the studs and starting from near-scratch seems a much better investment than patching up the existing structure with band aids. But it's not my money and I'm not the governor.
In the meantime, a "new" Aloha Stadium would take an estimated three years to build and the clock is ticking.