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Coliseum repairs to begin soon


LOS ANGELES -- Repairs to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will be aided by a state and federal agreement that speeds the rebuilding of historic structures, including the 71-year-old stadium.

Although damage to the Coliseum was severe, state officials and members of the Los Angeles Conservancy who toured the historic arena expressed optimism that it can be restored and that demolition will not be necessary.

"We're obviously disheartened to see the extent of the damage," said Gov. Pete Wilson's secretary of resources, Douglas Wheeler. "But there is an encouraging word ... and that is the building can be repaired. This agreement protects the building on the one hand and expedites the process of rebuilding."

Richard Andrews, the director of the state's Office of Emergency Services, said he hopes money will be in hand next week to begin the repairs.

But questions were being raised by Coliseum commission members surrounding the issue of who will do the rebuilding.

The commission hired Sylmar, Calif.-based Tutor-Saliba Corp. in 1993 to lower the field and add more seats as part of a $15 million renovation project.

But the company still is under contract -- months after the renovation work was finished, said Coliseum renovation project manager Don Webb.

Webb said the Coliseum is fortunate to have the company under contract and in position to do repair work when the final assessments are complete.

By moving quickly, Coliseum officials believe they will be able to meet their goal of reopening before the start of the 1994 football JTC season if the state and federal governments provide the funding.

Wheeler said that the state will contribute some money -- although he did not specify an amount -- to help restore the building.

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