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Spoleto to Renovate Memminger Auditorium

October 25, 2006

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ The Spoleto Festival USA will spend $6 million renovating the Memminger Auditorium that was badly damaged in Hurricane Hugo but has been used in recent years for festival performances.

The Charleston County School District, which owns the building, has agreed to let the city of Charleston use it rent free for 50 years as long as the festival renovates and expands it.

``Our board has taken this on as a community project,″ said Nigel Redden, the festival’s general director. He said at most, Spoleto will use the building for only a couple months a year.

Besides the renovation, the festival will raise about $5 million for an endowment for theater operations and to help with renovations at the Dock Street Theater a few blocks away.

Hurricane Hugo wrenched the roof off the Memminger in 1989 and for the next 11 years it sat vacant.

The festival cleaned the inside six years ago and the auditorium has been used for festival events, including the Mozart opera ``Don Giovanni″ the last two seasons.

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