Tuesday, September 8, 2009

$45 Million renovation for Bob Hope Patriotic Hall


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                       


                     CONTACT:  Roxane Marquez at (213) 974-4111 (office) or (213) 598-5463 (cellular)




Historic Hall To Get ‘Green Design’ and Is ‘More Than Just a Building’


LOS ANGELES (September 8, 2009)—Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina announced today that the historic Bob Hope Patriotic Hall will receive a $45 million top-to-bottom refurbishment that will include the latest sustainable “green design” features, a new commercial kitchen, a 10th floor gymnasium, up-to-date telecommunications equipment, new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire suppression, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, plus restoration of the building’s historic elements.

“Commuters who drive regularly near the 10-110 Freeway Interchange surely recognize Patriotic Hall as a downtown Los Angeles landmark with its massive replica of “The Spirit of ‘76” painted on the hall’s northern side,” Molina said.  “But it’s more than just a building.  Patriotic Hall symbolizes Los Angeles County’s commitment to its veterans.  It contains priceless military memorabilia, artifacts, and documents from every American war.  It houses many of the county’s military and veterans’ services.  And its auditorium functions as a meeting place for the general public.  Given all of its amenities plus the historic importance, Patriotic Hall deserves proper maintenance—and that’s what we’re ensuring today.”

At today’s county Board of Supervisors meeting, Molina and her colleagues formally approved the project’s $45.384 million allocation and, as part of that cost, awarded a $29.385 million design-build contract to PCL Construction Service, Inc.  Design work should be finished by December of 2010.  Construction should begin the following year and be completed by September of 2012.

Located at 1816 South Figueroa Street, the ten-story Bob Hope Patriotic Hall has long been a fixture in the downtown Los Angeles landscape.  Prior to 1900, the county first purchased a three-story abandoned church building located on the side of the present staff parking lot.  That building was remodeled and became known as Victory Hall.  Following World War I, staff and veterans outgrew Victory Hall so the county Board of Supervisors authorized plans for a new, multi-story building.  Patriotic Hall opened to the public in September of 1926.  Members of the Grand Army of the Republic as well as veterans of Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, and World War I were among the first to use it.  On August 3, 2003, the Board of Supervisors officially named Patriotic Hall in honor of Bob Hope, the legendary performer who entertained 10 million U.S. servicemen and women at 700 military bases and hospitals around the world for over 60 years.

Originally designed by Allied Architects Association, Bob Hope Patriotic Hall includes a 660-seat auditorium, a library, a gymnasium, a kitchen, several banquet rooms, and various chambers containing military memorabilia.  The building features a Romanesque style with fine vaulted arch construction in its lobby.  Patriotic Hall is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and has been placed on the State of California’s Register of Historic Resources.  It also was awarded the Certificate of Honor for Exceptional Merit by the Southern California chapter of the American Society of Architects.

Upon completion of all renovation work, Patriotic Hall will boast “Silver Certification” status as determined by the federal Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) program.  Sustainable design features will include energy efficient light fixtures with timer controls; an energy management control system for the facility’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system; water-efficient fixtures in the restrooms; and drought-tolerant plants in exterior landscape areas.

“Though $45 million is a significant sum, it is actually $2.47 million less than our original cost projection,” Molina said.  “We consider it a worthy investment and our way of saying “Thank You” to the proud veterans of Los Angeles County who have served our nation so well.”

Molina also used today’s Patriotic Hall refurbishment announcement to drum up awareness about three murals by artist Helen Lundeberg that were once housed within Patriotic Hall but have gone missing for over 30 years.  Titled Free Assembly, Free Ballot, and Preamble to the Constitution, the three 12’x15’ murals were commission in 1942 by the U.S. Works Progress Administration and remained on display until 1974 when they were put into storage in a building next to Patriotic Hall.  That building has since been demolished—and the murals have been misplaced ever since.

“The three murals most likely were painted in oil paint onto a thin layer of fabric or canvas,” said Alice Schock, a civic arts associate with the county’s Arts Commission.  “If they are still in storage at a county facility, they are probably either rolled up or folded—and they might resemble a canvas or house painters’ drop cloth.  The murals are an important part of the county’s history and the nation’s, too.  Free Assembly illustrated a group gathering for discussion; Free Ballot showed people lining up to vote; and Preamble to the Constitution depicted four of our Founding Fathers and the Statue of Liberty clustered around the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble.  It would be wonderful to relocate these three works of art and to restore them.”

Anyone with information on the missing murals is encouraged to contact Ms. Schock by e-mail at aschock@arts.lacounty.gov or by telephone at (213) 202-5920.  A black-and-white image of the mural Free Assembly is available upon request.



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