ANAHEIM : Convention Center Project Almost Done

After nearly five months of delay on the $30-million addition to the Anaheim Convention Center, officials now estimate that the center should be complete by the end of the month.

Next week, Fire Department officials will recheck a fire safety system, which failed its first test earlier this week, causing the latest in a series of delays that officials say has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I'm not trying to defend anyone, but it's a sophisticated system," said Lynn Thompson, general manager of the convention center, about the fire safety system. "It's not unusual that it failed when it was first tested."

Thompson said that other safety systems, such as door locks, are the remaining features needed to complete the project.

Under construction since May, 1988, the addition of Exhibit Hall D was scheduled to be finished in February of this year. The contract allows the city to deduct up to $5,000 for each day the project is late.

However, there is some dispute between the city and the contractor, Taylor Woodrow California Construction Corp., over the building's readiness. Taylor Woodrow contends that the project is complete, while city officials say it is not finished until it passes all safety inspections.

Whether those differences will be resolved through further negotiations or through litigation has yet to be determined.

The 150,000-foot expansion will include the hall, a lower-level parking structure of the same size and an adjacent parking structure. It is the third of four phases of additions that have been expanding the center since the mid-1970s.

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