A determined community effort spearheaded by Lahainaluna High School Foundation Athletic Committee Chairman Mark Tillman and Development Coordinator Jeff Rogers over the last five years has taken a giant step to fruition.
Phase I of the “Re-do the Imu” project — the effort to bring a state-of-the-art athletic facility to the oldest public school west of the Rockies — will begin with an official groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, Feb. 26.
What this means is that the dreams of the Lahainaluna ‘ohana will become a reality. The contract has been signed and all systems are go, as Phase I will include the installation of the artificial surface football/soccer field — replete with the school logo at midfield and “LUNAS” in each end zone — and an all-weather track and jump pits for field events. With March 1 marked as the installation start date, the field is expected to be ready to go in less than three months, leaving plenty of time to prepare for the 2010 Tailgate Party and preseason football opener versus Kalaheo on Aug. 14.
The realization that this first step in the “Re-do the Imu” project is really happening will bring unprecedented joy to the Lahainaluna family, and the campaign serves as a tribute to the virtuous effort of the community — particularly the LHS Foundation — to be pono amid these most trying economic times.
Indeed, where much of the public education sector of state government has taken steps backward, Tillman, Rogers and Foundation President Rob Shelton have moved the quality of the Lahainaluna experience in a noteworthy and positive direction forward.
The overwhelming generosity of benefactor Sue Cooley is most noteworthy as well. Over the last three years, Cooley has pledged her financial support to the project to the tune of $3 million (the final contribution of that amount was made on Feb. 2). These funds undoubtedly gave Tillman and Rogers confidence and leverage in their negotiations with the project’s vendors.
A heartfelt mahalo also goes to the various professionals and alumni who have lent their expertise to the effort to realize this dream. People like architect Dennis Harmon and engineer Stacey Otomo have provided vital input to the project to keep it on track and bring it to this point of fruition.
Along with the recently completed locker room facility and softball field, the new field and stadium will further illuminate the shining glory of Lahainaluna High School. The West Side community should be proud and thankful for this team effort that improves the quality of the educational experience here.
Imua, Lahainaluna! Go Lunas! (By Walter Chihara)