A new start: Planning in final stages for Kealakehe High School track improvements

Already years in the making, the planning of a state-of-the-art synthetic track is in the final stages for Kealakehe High School.

Approved and appropriated during the 2019 state legislative session, bids are finally being received for the projected $3 million project. Bidding is scheduled to close on Feb. 2, after which Kealakehe’s athletic director Alan Vogt hopes construction can begin as soon as possible.

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“We’re not going to wait, because of our experience with projects that take longer than anticipated,” said Vogt. “We want this done as soon as possible.”

Upgrades will consist of replacing the track and curbing with a synthetic surface, extending the area on the makai side of the track an additional 10 to 15 feet and installing a modern timing system. These improvements should elevate Kealakehe High School’s track among the premier facilities in the state; Vogt hopes this will allow the school to host the state track and field meet in the future.

“When we go around the BIIF rotation in past years, we’ve held it at Keaau High School,” said Vogt. “I’ve been over there for a state meet; the rain came in and it was not ideal. Certainly the hotel facilities over there aren’t ideal. For the BIIF, if this facility turns out the way we hope it does, it certainly could work that we could host a state track meet.”

In the more immediate future, the new facility improves student-athlete safety and will remove the need for Kealakehe High School runners to travel to a proper venue to practice.

“We have no high jump area; we have no exchange zones for relays,” Vogt said of the current facility’s shortcomings. “What we have to do is to bus our team to another venue…The benefit will be, not just for our students athletes, but we’ll be able to host county events, track meets for youth. It’s going to be a huge benefit for the community.”

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Construction could start as early as March, with the ultimate goal of completion by the time graduation rolls around. In the case it isn’t completed by then, Vogt insisted the school would be able to work around the project, potentially holding graduation elsewhere. Above all, he expressed his gratitude to those who have helped over the past few years to make a new track a reality.

“This is something we’ve been working on for many, many years,” said Vogt. “This is kind of a dream come true for all of us at Kealakehe.”

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