Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Why Isn’t War Memorial Gym in Better Shape?

December 11, 2016, 1:19 PM HST
* Updated December 11, 1:24 PM
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The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team played Pittsburgh at War Memorial Gymnasium in November 2014 Photo by UH Athletics / Jordan Fong.

The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team played Pittsburgh at War Memorial Gymnasium in November 2014 Photo by UH Athletics / Jordan Fong.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at [email protected], 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Dear Mayor Arakawa, 

Q: A large youth basketball tournament was just held at the War Memorial Gym and kids were sliding all over the place on the courts. Some even got hurt!

A few months back, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters were in town and same thing—they were sliding all over the place.

In a couple weeks, college basketball is going to use it.  After that, Menehune Basketball season is starting up.

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Why isn’t this court and the entire gym better taken care of (like Lahaina Civic Center), especially if it’s being used by such organizations?

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A: You are correct. The War Memorial Gym, which was built in 1960, is in need of major maintenance repairs. Besides leaks, the windows will not shut and we have had at least one major flooding incident there when the pipes burst underneath.

We have requested funds to make repairs to the court surface and gymnasium windows; the funding has been requested for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

Since its construction 56 years ago, the gym has undergone several renovations, including the construction of one-story wings to the east and west sides of the building. In 1990, the iconic suspended metal roof was demolished and the roof deck was raised to its current position. In 2001, renovations to the lobby and plaza area were completed, including a new lobby area, roof, and replica of the original mural by renowned artist Tadashi Sato.

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We are currently looking at a complete overhaul of the gymnasium facility, which handles not just basketball tournaments but job fairs, the horticulture exhibit at the Maui Fair and much, much more.

War Memorial Gymnasium has served us well but we must look at a newer, bigger civic center type of facility that will better serve the growing needs of this community.

A master plan was completed that included recommendations for a possible new structure or a rebuilt gym on the existing metal frame.

The proposed plan is being reviewed by the Parks Department for feasibility and funding availability.

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