Among the $5.1 billion in capital improvements allocated by a bill in the Legislature now awaiting Gov. David Ige’s signature, $6.3 million will be heading to Konawaena High School to improve their athletic sites.
The bill was sent to Ige last week, earmarking money for design and construction for track and field improvements, synthetic field and replacement of synthetic track, storage facility for field maintenance equipment, track storage in addition to ground and site improvements. Though planning is still very much in its early stages, officials at Konawaena expressed their excitement for a much-needed upgrade.
“Our school will be 100 years old in the next two years; it would absolutely be a blessing,” said Konawaena athletic director Kellye Krug. “I’ve been at Konawaena now, this will be my fifth school year, and I’ve been in education for almost 20 years now. We have a wonderful community in Kealakekua and those kids up on campus are such an amazing group of young people.”
Konawaena is considering its options for construction at this point. With an eventual completion date likely to be more than a year in the future, any decision won’t be made until more there’s more clarity regarding classes and athletics for the upcoming school year.
“I can’t imagine anything being set in stone right away. I think there’d be a lot of conversation as to timelines and plans of attack,” said Krug. “We can try to speculate off of past precedents, but we no longer live in that world.”
Wildcats head football coach Brad Uemoto emphasized the safer conditions and improved ability to practice as key benefits to having a turf football field.
“The conditions we were practicing and playing with at Konawaena the past five or six years were really bad. Tons of rain, a lot of mud, poor drainage, pigs would come on the field,” said Uemoto. “From a health standpoint, injuries occurred with the poor conditions. It really limited our ability to do certain things.”
Though his teams won’t set foot on new turf for a while, Uemoto is already looking forward to the improvements — both in practice and games — for his players.
“I’m ecstatic…” Uemoto said. “It’ll drastically improve everything.”