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Front Page » Top Stories » Performing Arts Center To Get 42 Million From County

Performing Arts Center To Get 42 Million From County

Written by on October 16, 2003

By Shannon Pettypiece
With 30% of construction work finished, the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami is getting an additional $4.2 million in county funds.

At the request of the Performing Arts Center Management Office, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will cover $1.3 million in design changes, $1.25 million for additional consulting and $1.65 million for increased insurance costs and miscellaneous expenses.

"The funds will be assigned to increased administrative expenses resulting from the project delays and increased inspection requirements," project director Gail Thompson said Tuesday in an e-mail.

The arts center was promised more money last month when the county finalized its 2003-04 budget. The 2002-03 budget predicted that the center would need $340.1 million for land acquisition, construction materials, construction administrative costs, fixtures and other expenses.

Costly construction delays were criticized last month by members of the Performing Arts Center Trust, the group that will run the center after it opens. The board issued a warning to the contractor to improve workmanhip or face termination.

Since then, County Manager George Burgess toured the site and assigned Assistant County Manager Bill Johnson to oversee construction.

"I’m very pleased with the assignment of Bill Johnson on the project," Michael Hardy, CEO of the trust, said Tuesday. "The county has been very responsive."

Since the last construction report, 33 more days of work have been lost, but builders plan to compensate for that time, according to the Oct. 10 construction-progress report.

An audit of the builders by the county’s Office of the Inspector General will be released next week, said Stephen Pollock of the office.

Most of the $212.8 million of construction funds has been spent in the first two years of a four-year construction plan. The projected completion date is October 2005, 355 days after the originally scheduled date set in 2001, when construction began.

The center, under construction on Biscayne Boulevard between 13th and 14th streets, will house the Concert Association of Florida, the New World Symphony, the Miami City Ballet and the Florida Grand Opera.

During Tuesday’s Performing Arts Center Trust board meeting, the latest fund-raising dollars were reported.

As much as $51 million has been raised since fundraising started in 1994, and $29 million more must be raised in the next three years to meet the center’s $80 million goal, said Nancy Herstand, executive director of the Performing Arts Center Foundation.

"The climate is a little different this year," Ms. Herstand said. "The last two years were not very good for fundraising, as I’m sure you all know."

Of the $80 million goal, Ms. Herstand said, $63.2 million is to be repaid to the county during the next three years, with $42.2 million going for construction costs and $21 million for an operating endowment.

The remaining $17 million will pay for $5 million of pre-opening operating costs for the trust and $12 million in fundraising efforts from 1994 to 2006.