Funding released for Lahainaluna softball field improvements
LAHAINA — West Maui lawmakers announced last week that Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $1.94 million for upgrades to Lahainaluna High School’s softball field.
According to West Maui lawmakers, the project “will finally bring much-needed improvements to support the students of Lahainaluna and their athletics program.”
“Besides getting this long overdue project rolling to benefit the kids at LHS, the release of these monies will also create local construction jobs and spending that will benefit not only our Lahaina community, but our economy as well,” said West Maui State Rep. Angus McKelvey (D-10th District), who chairs the House Economic Revitalization and Business Committee.
The funding released covers $185,000 for design work and $1,755,000 for construction. Design is expected to begin in the summer of 2011 with construction slated for 2012.
Money for the project was secured by West Maui lawmakers last session in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2010-11.
“It’s exciting to have a chief executive who appreciates the needs of our community and works with the legislature to advance the capital improvement projects we need,” said Sen. Roz Baker (D-5th District).
“I am delighted that Governor Abercrombie has authorized release of the funds appropriated by the legislature for this important project.”
According to the Governor’s Office, the improvements are part of a commitment to comply with overall funding for federal gender equity requirements within the Department of Education.
The general allocation for schools was spurred by a lawsuit brought against the state by parents of softball players at Baldwin High School. They charged that the state is under a federal mandate to develop equal funding and support for boys’ and girls’ sports programs and facilities, and it was failing to meet that requirement.
McKelvey and Baker inserted $350,000 for lighting at the Lahaina softball field as part of the gender equity provision, which was inserted in the state budget after the legal action concluded.
“This project also represents a fulfillment of the legacy of Rep. Patsy T. Mink, whose landmark Title IX federal law ensures gender equity in our education programs,” Baker explained.
McKelvey noted that in order to ensure that the upgrades would truly fulfill the equity provision, additional funds were earmarked out of the allocated lump sum for the design and construction of restrooms, as well as accessibility improvements, “so that we could ensure that the new softball field improvements would deliver greater access and amenities for both the players, parents and the community.”
“Sports teaches and offers much to the young women and men who participate… I know these improvements will create greater opportunities for our students and help them excel,” concluded Baker.