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Construction problems delay renovation of East County concert venue

New roof, HVAC system will cost additional $2 million
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Posted at 9:05 AM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 12:24:27-05

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - Unforeseen problems at the East County Performing Arts Center will delay a renovation project and plans to turn the venue into a rock concert hall. They will also cost the city about $2 million more to complete the project.

The City Council approved the extra cost at their meeting on December 11th.

The ECPAC has been closed since 2010, a casualty of the Great Recession.

Over the years it fell into disrepair. But in 2017, city leaders put together a plan to reopen it. They signed a contract with concert promoter Live Nation to bring about 70 acts per year to the venue.

Part of the deal called for nearly $6.3 million of renovations to make it more like a concert venue than a performance hall.

RELATED: Renovations underway as Live Nation takes over East County Performing Arts Center

As that work went on, other problems surfaced. Engineers found the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system needed to be replaced. They also found parts of the roof that needed repairs.

The extra cost for those two combined is about $1.7 million.

To prepare for any further problems that the city also agreed to add $772,000 to the budget as "contingency" money.

The new money will come from the city's general fund, which had a surplus last year. They'll also use about $600,000 from the original budget for renovations that hasn't been spent yet.

Speaking at the Council Meeting on the 11th, Mayor Bill Wells voiced support for the extra cost, saying the project shouldn't be done with "half measures."

"Since we're investing so much in this and Live Nation doesn't want it to be a hot summer day in August and have the air conditioning go out, we collectively made the decision it was prudent to spend the extra money," Wells said.

With the extra work, the venue will now open in the fall of 2019. The original plan was to have it ready by this coming spring.

The council approved a resolution for the extra money with a unanimous 4-0 vote. Councilmember Ben Kalasho abstained.