Just in time for the Merrie Monarch Festival, a renovated and expanded Edith Kanaka‘ole Multipurpose Stadium was officially blessed during a ceremony held Friday at the prominent Hilo facility.
The blessing was performed by Kahu Leifi Hao of Ka Hoku Ao Malamalama church in Keaukaha. The upgrade is the anchor of a $4 million revitalization of the Ho‘olulu Complex, which also includes work on the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Lu‘au Hale, and multiple support buildings.
Anchored by a new 4,200-square-foot building featuring six dressing/meeting rooms and tiled restrooms, the project has modernized the stadium, which is used for such varied public events as trade shows, school graduations, and the world famous Merrie Monarch Festival, which starts on March 31.
“Beyond Merrie Monarch, this is for the entire community to enjoy year-round,” Mayor Billy Kenoi said at the ceremony. He recognized the contractors, Hawaii County employees, and community volunteers who worked tirelessly to finish the upgrades in time to meet a rigid construction deadline.
A new color scheme, native landscaping, new fencing, and covered side entrances now greet stadium users. Inside, there’s an expanded lobby, a larger concession area complete with new roof coverings and lighting and a freshly painted interior. An upgraded electrical system to support enhanced lighting and sound system capabilities, a replacement sewer line, drainage improvements, and a larger vehicle entrance are also part of the renovation project, which took approximately three months to complete.