The San Diego Symphony Orchestra is set to begin renovations March 18 on its new downtown home, the Fox Theatre, to be renamed Symphony Hall. On Tuesday, the orchestra named an acoustical firm, painting contractor, construction company and architect for the project, which is scheduled to be completed by the start of the orchestra's 1985-86 season in November.

The New York-based firm of Artec Consultants Inc. has been retained as acoustical consultant. Artec's acoustical projects include the Dallas Symphony Hall and London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

San Diego's Deems Lewis & Partners--part of the team that won last year's design competition for the convention center--will be the lead architect, working jointly with the Los Angeles architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The latter firm has been retained by Charlton Raynd, formerly of Raynd Ventures, which will be developing the "Fox block" (A to B streets, 7th to 8th avenues) property that encompasses the Fox Theatre. Charlton Raynd is planning a mixed-use Symphony Towers project for the property.

A.T. Heinsbergen & Co., which created the interior design of the original Fox Theatre in 1929, will be painting contractor to restore the interior. The theater's side walls, proscenium arch, balcony front and balcony soffits will be returned to their original beige and stone, highlighted in gold leaf and polychromed. Side murals will be touched up where necessary and foyers washed, repaired and highlighted.

All construction will be coordinated by San Diego's Nielsen Construction Co., which will be responsible for cost estimating, cost controls and an engineering budget. Recently, Charlton Raynd closed escrow on the $7.5-million purchase of the Fox block. The orchestra is in the midst of a $6-million campaign to cover the cost of Fox renovations, plus contingency and endowment funding.

"This is what we call a 'rocket ship' project," said Tom Tourtellot, Nielsen vice president of marketing. "It's all got to be done by Nov. 2 (the date set for the orchestra's inaugural Fox concert and gala celebration), and we all have to pull together to ensure the deadline is met. All the consultants involved have earned outstanding reputations and are proven leaders in their respective fields."

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