Artificial turf going into War Memorial

War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku is scheduled to have synthetic turf installed.

Maui County on Monday posted a request for bids for the job – the deadline to submit a proposal is Nov. 7.

“This is a needed upgrade,” said county spokesman Rod Antone. “We’re hoping to protect our young athletes.”

The current grass field is used for myriad events – in the fall alone, the schedule includes Maui Interscholastic League eight-player and 11-player football games, and Pop Warner contests.

The stadium also hosts soccer and track and field competitions at multiple levels, and nonsports events, including graduation ceremonies.

“It’s good to see,” said Maui High School football coach David Bui. “The county has been doing a good job with the turf, but to have this artificial turf, being that War Memorial is the only really major stadium, it’s good that we can update it.”

During the change, some events normally held at the stadium might need be located elsewhere, though regarding a schedule for the installation, Antone noted, “We haven’t even gotten proposals in.”

King Kekaulike Stadium and Kamehameha Maui’s Kanaiaupuni Stadium, both in Pukalani, have hosted MIL track and field meets, including last season.

“We might be trying to distribute the meets if the stadium’s not ready in time for track season,” said Rudy Huber, the Kamehameha Maui coach and the Valley Isle Road Runners youth chairman.

Huber said members of Maui’s track and field community met with the Department of Parks and Recreation, and he felt their concerns were given consideration.

“We walked away like, ‘OK, they heard us, now the question is, “Will it work out?” ‘ ” Huber said, noting that the location of pits for the long jump, triple jump and pole vault were also discussed in an effort to balance cost with fans’ views of those events.

“Let’s work together, and let’s figure out what the possibilities can be,” Huber said.

Joe Apolo, a former president of Maui Pop Warner football who still serves the organization as an adviser, said he likes that youth players get a chance to compete in the stadium, which was built in the 1950s and has also hosted the now-defunct Hula Bowl, a college football all-star game, as well as a University of Hawaii football game.

“As far as for the kids, it’s a great honor to play in the stadium,” Apolo said. “Maui is very fortunate,the way we use the stadium. Outerisland teams, when they come out for bowl games, they say, ‘Oh, you guys are so lucky, you have a nice stadium.’

“Some of the kids in Pop Warner, some of them will never play in the stadium again. Some of them don’t move up, or they play other sports. For me, it’s a big thing for the kids, especially the small ones. How often are they going to get to play in the stadium? They are so happy they can play in the stadium.”

Two fields that have been used for MIL football – Kanaiaupuni Stadium and Lahainaluna’s “Imu” – have artificial turf.

“The field turf they make today, it’s very similar to grass,” Bui said. “The old, old turf could affect your footing. The field turf they make today is pretty safe.”

* Brad Sherman is at