Yes, the answer we all wanted to hear about FieldTurf from the Stadium Authority…or is it?
The motion was made by Stadium Authority chair Larry Price, seconded by Carol Kai Onouye and unanimously approved by the board members.. Was this what the one hour 45 minute meeting had boiled down to? So simple, FieldTurf at Aloha Stadium is in. One cameramen and a reporter from one of the local TV stations looked at each other a bit puzzled. "Was that it? Did they already make a decision? Kinda anti-climatic wasn't it". Sure seemed that way, but, wait. If I heard things correctly Larry Price's proposal came with three conditions which just might make things a bit difficult if not impossible.
The real question is, now what? Will we have FieldTurf at Aloha Stadium by August 2? Tom Cruise, it's time to make your entrance once again in Mission Impossible III. Strike up the music cause let me tell you, below the FieldTurf there was so much else that happened.
As security let me in I entered the conference room… Ah, the name plates of the Stadium Authority board members…..Larry Price on the left , Robin Campaniano to the left of Larry Price's left, Tony Guerrero to Larry's right, Charlie Toguchi to his right, Michael Green on the opposite side of Charlie, Carole Kai Onouye next to Michael Green…… Carole Kai???? Is she is on the board too???….. As one pidgin speaking member of the RSN ohana would say, "Oh wow, Lau Lau!!! Eh, is dis Hawaii Stars or what???" It seemed like everybody who was somebody in Hawaii was on the Stadium Authority. It was very interesting to see all the people there….If my memory serves me right there were nine board members, two admin people writing down minutes of the meeting, Hugh Yoshida from UH and Tao Harrington representing the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Larry called the meeting to order using his name plate as a gavel and it was showtime……Question and answer time had began….The experts to answer questions from the previous Stadium Authority meeting were there…..From FieldTurf headquarters was the head man himself Mr. Gillman (who had played professionally in the CFL with Junior Ah You), a representative from the consulting firm engaged by HTA to do the now famous feasibility study as was Aloha Stadium's man in charge of engineering and none other than NFL grass guru George Toma…..Question after question which resulted in technical answers flying all over the place….Michael Green asked the bulk of the questions which were very pertinent and important….Crane on the field? Drainage? How long would it take to install? Maintenance? All answered to Mr. Green's satisfaction…..
Gee, seemed like smooth sailing and it looked like a sure thing that the Warriors' first game of 2002 would be played on FieldTurf. So easy, pull of the Astro Turf, just replace it with FieldTurf and ready to rumble. Then out of the clear blue things got cloudy again.
Michael Green then asked, "Mr. Gillman, if this were your field, how would you do it?" "If it were my field and if we were to do it the right way, I would prep the field under the turf by going down 13 inches and do proper preparation and then top it off with asphalt. Then after enough time passed we would lay the FieldTurf.. This would result in a field that would allow Hawaii to sponsor world class soccer or rugby events. This makes sense if Hawaii wanted to be a world class destination spot." Now this was a question and an answer that was totally unexpected. To do this would not only add delays in the project, but, would add additional costs well beyond the $ 877,000 quotation…….If further preparation was required, studies would now need to be done to see what kind of ground was under the surface of the Aloha Stadium turf. It seemed like an entirely new can of worms had now been opened.
Larry and the board then broke for a short executive meeting to discuss legal issues. The Stadium Authority then returned and Larry made the motion to go with the FieldTurf. Alright, it's going to happen. That's when the big "B" word came out. "But there are three conditions, Hawaii procurement laws would have to be followed, the deadline for installation would be August 2 because Aloha Stadium would need some time to get used to the new surface and no events would be cancelled, and the HTA, the NFL and the FieldTurf people would be responsible for all payments related to the prep and installation of the new turf." My heart sank. Did we just get the OK to install FieldTurf or what? .
As the head man of FieldTurf took the microphone to respond to the news that was good, bad and ugly, I could see it in his face that he was stunned. "What does the contract call for?" Larry replied, "Everything we talked about." My understanding is that everything meant going the additional 13 inches down, the additional prep and the whole nine yards which bottom line equates to more required time and money. Gillman tried to explain that the there was just too much to be done to be finished by the imposed August 2 deadline.
Before anyone could go on Carole Kai seconded the motion and the rest of the board voted yea….The Stadium Authority wanted the FieldTurf , now!!!! Gillman kept trying to plead his case. Larry then spoke up and said, "You got what you want, you get to install your turf and to help you get things done in a quicker way we have a subcommittee of Robin Campaniano, Tony Guerrero and Carole Kai to work directly with you." The stunned look on Gillman's face could not be erased by what had just happened.
Long story short, FieldTurf is finally approved by the Stadium Authority…...ooooo, but those three conditions…..without a major miracle it looks like the Warriors' 2002 date with Eastern Illinois will be played on Astro Turf on one hot August night….