There will be no Friday night lights at Castle High School this year.
According to the Hawaii Department of Education, a preliminary inspection revealed that 13 fixtures on the field had rusted safety brackets and were in danger of falling, so they were removed as a precaution.
Because of that, it would be too dark when the night games are played. Parents have been told that the four home games scheduled at night this year will be played as away games.
Many were disappointed to hear the news.
“When there are eight games, you should have four home games I think, so now it’s all away games and now we’ve got to travel as parents, so it’s pretty disappointing,” said Stason Fernandez, whose son plays on the junior varsity team.
The parents are so disappointed that some of them even volunteered to fix the problem, but because of a liability issue, the school would not allow it.
Some parents are also wondering why the problem was not addressed in the summer, so it could have been fixed in time for the football season.
“Knowing that the football season was coming up and the bleachers were going to be used, they should have did something a long time ago,” said Fernandez.
We went to the DOE to get some answers. Instead, we got an email saying there was a project to switch to LED lights in October, which didn’t really answer our question.
State Sen. Jill Tokuda, who is a graduate and strong supporter of the school, tells us she was told right away when the problem with the lights was discovered.
“At that point, it had been identified that certain lights had to come down, unfortunately, so it was immediately brought down,” Tokuda said. “No one ever likes to hear that, but health and safety first.”
“Do you happen to know why it was addressed at this time rather than earlier?” KHON2 asked.
“In terms of the timing, I think there are always efforts to try to do better, but in terms of technology and being able to get up there, and being able to look at all of our lights statewide and address these kinds of repairs that we need, the timing is not always perfect,” Tokuda said.
Tokuda adds that the school is still trying to get the lights back up and she’s holding out hope that some home games can still be played if the lights can be fixed sooner.
DOE says there are four other high schools whose football fields will be closed for at least part of the year: Waialua, Waipahu, and Kaiser high schools should be completed in September. Moanalua should be finished in March 2018.