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Arena Authority Rejects Request for More Time, Money

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RALEIGH — The Raleigh sports arena's governing board rejected a request by the arena's builders for more money so they can finish the behind-schedule project seven weeks late.

Hensel Phelps Construction Company, the general contractor for the project, asked the Centennial Authority Tuesday for more time and more money to complete the high-profile project.

The Centennial Authority, the group overseeing the

"And if it means litigating, then we will have to litigate," says Curt Williams, executive director of the Centennial Authority. "We all hope it doesn't come to that, but I think the authority is going to stand very strong and very firm to protect the public's investment."

Hensel Phelps says it needs $10.5 to $12.5 million more and a new October 20 deadline to get the job done.

Steve Stroud, chairman of the Centennial Authority, said he plans to ask the governor and lieutenant governor to get involved in the dispute.

Wednesday, the governor said he would be happy to get involved, but that he has confidence the Centennial Authority will work everything out.

TheCarolina Hurricanescould also sue the contractor.

"If the authority is trying to hold the contractors to a Sept. 1 date, more power to them,'' said Jim Cain, the Hurricanes' attorney. "But we could live with the Oct. 20 date if we can play hockey then and it's a building we can be proud of."

The September 1 deadline is the date for the home debut of the Hurricanes at the arena. The team has talked to Greensboro about a game-by-game contingency plan. They have also talked with Fayetteville, but right now they are still planning to start next season in Raleigh.

If Hensel Phelps does not have the arena finished by the scheduled deadline, it will have to pay$10,000 a day in finesafter September 1.

Herb Sendek, N.C. State's coach, said the Wolfpack will not play its first game until Nov. 19 at the earliest, so he is not too concerned.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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