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Windward // Windward Oahu Sports

Castle Stadium To Feature State-of-the-art Playing Surface

The waiting, as Tom Petty sings, is the hardest part. As it turns out, Castle’s wait for a newly refurbished football stadium will be a little longer than planned, but the finished product figures to be worth the wait.

“The bottom line is that, at the end of the day, we are fortunate to have such a facility when it is com- pleted, and that’s what our focus should be on,” said Castle athletic director Richard Haru. “We’re very grateful for the support we’ve gotten from the Legislature — (former state senator and superintendent of education and Castle alumnus) Charles Toguchi, (state Sen.) Jill Tokuda, (state Reps.) Ken Ito and Pono Chong and Gov. Abercrombie, of course, for releasing the money. It will be a benefit not only to Castle, but to the community also. There have been a lot of delays, but we have no control over that. No one is more anxious (for completion) than I am. I know (head coach) Nelson (Maeda) has been very patient throughout this.”

For the short term, how- ever, Castle will likely play all road games again this year. (The Knights played the majority of their planned home games away from their campus in 2011 also.)

“We aren’t able to use the facility until everything is complete,” Haru said. “There’s an outside chance it could be ready for the last game or two, but the safest thing to say right now is that it is highly unlikely, although there is that small window.”

Cost of the full renovation, which includes a new service road, an announcer’s booth, a storage facility and new synthetic field turf, totaled more than $5

million. Perhaps most impressive among the new additions will be the field turf, which is known as Matrix 46. Castle will be the only football stadium in the state with Matrix 46, which is produced by Hellas Construction, a Texas-based company. The Matrix 46 surface is the same as the one currently being used by the Dallas Cowboys.

“There are several benefits of having field turf installed. One is player safety — the field will always be consistent and forgiving on the joints,” said Maeda. “Two, we won’t have to deal with rainy, muddy playing conditions for those on the field, and the spectators get to enjoy a game as such. As head coach, I will save immense time not having to line the field and field maintenance, not having to spend countless hours watering the grass.

“The time saved can be spent on other coaching tasks. In the long run, it is very cost-effective and saves money in terms of maintenance,” he added.

Installation of the playing surface is set to begin this week at Castle. The Knights have been among the hardest hit with injuries the past couple of seasons, but the new surface could help in that regard.

“The synthetic fields have come a long way from the old AstroTurf, which gave immense body burns and wrecked count- less knees by not giving and actually grabbing the implanted foot and tearing the ligaments,” added Maeda.

The surface also will be pleasing to the eye. Both end zones will be colored maroon with “Castle” emblazoned in one and “Knights” dis- played in the other.

Castle’s football stadium was upgraded with new bleachers in 2006.

The Knights’ soccer teams, which begin practice in November, will likely be the first athletic teams to play home games in the new stadium if it’s not ready for football.

Haru noted several events he expects Castle to host for the community when the facility is in working order, including the annual

Kaneohe Elementary Intermediate Track Meet, the Windward District Fitness Meet, and a Pop Warner Football Jamboree. Haru also mentioned Castle’s desire to host a “District Special Olympics Meet.”

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