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Reopening Of Museum Is Delayed

January 15, 1986|HERMAN WONG | Times Staff Writer

The reopening of the Laguna Art Museum's main facility in Laguna Beach has been rescheduled for the third time--the projected date is now mid-September.

Museum director William Otton said Tuesday that the delays caused by the discovery 10 weeks ago of an underwater spring on the site have been longer than anticipated. Recent rains have also been a factor, he added.

"The problems from the flooding and redesigning (of the drainage system and elevator shaft area) are just about over. We will be back on track very soon," Otton said.

The 56-year-old museum on North Coast Highway was originally scheduled to reopen in the fall of '85 after a $1.1-million renovation and expansion. But when the facility was closed last April, the announced reopening was moved to 1986--first May and then June.

When the facility reopens in mid-September, the museum will offer exhibits on California Impressionism, Southern California contemporary artists and a survey of regional photographers, Otton said.

Under the expansion plan, the three-level landmark structure overlooking Main Beach is being completely revamped. The 9,000-square-foot structure will gain another 6,000 square feet, which will include three new galleries, plus storage and administrative spaces.

Otton and his staff are housed in temporary quarters at the Great American Savings Bank branch in downtown Laguna Beach. Most of the museum's 800-piece permanent collection is being stored at various locales in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Since October, 1984, the museum has been operating a 3,000-square-foot "satellite facility" at South Coast Plaza.

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