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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (Samoa News, Aug. 31) - Fletcher Construction has been awarded the renovation and repair contract for the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium [in Pago Pago], which was built in the early 1960s with the last major renovation carried out in 2000.

The more than US$1 million project is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which agreed late last year to provide funding following a meeting with Governor Togiola, who told Samoa News in October 2005 that the project was estimated at around US$1.5 million.

Fletcher Construction's local manager, Dean Hudson said the company was given the notice to proceed a couple of weeks ago by the government but not much activity will be seen at the site until all of the materials and supplies arrive on island.

He estimates that work should be moving forward in the next six weeks and to prevent people from trespassing into the building, the company has erected a steel fence around the building, which has caught attention of some local residents.

"We have to secure the building and we have taken responsibility, hence the fence," he said.

Renovation includes air-condition, electrical upgrade, change of the layout, extension in the back that includes bathroom facilities while the "basic structure" stays the same, said Hudson.

"Once its completed it will be very nice building - suitable for many events," said Hudson, who estimates that work to be completed in 10 months once it starts.

September 1, 2006

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