BATON ROUGE, La. – The projected reopening date for the Louisiana Superdome has been pushed back about a month after a proposal for architectural design work was rejected.

The Superdome, which became a symbol of the destruction wrought by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a shelter for thousands displaced by the storm, is not expected to be repaired and ready to host football games until November 2006.

But Superdome Commission chairman Tim Coulon said it is still possible the New Orleans Saints could play three or four games in the stadium next season. Tulane could also play some games at the facility.

The original architectural proposal, from a consortium of Houston, Baton Rouge and New Orleans firms, was thrown out when officials discovered that the Houston firm of Leo A. Daly failed to disclose that it is being sued by officials of the Atlanta airport, Superdome general manager Glenn Menard said.

The process of finding another design team has been reopened and new proposals are due Nov. 10. That means about three weeks have been lost in the process, Coulon said.

Coulon estimated the cost to put the Superdome in its pre-Katrina condition at about $125 million. The stadium sheltered more than 20,000 evacuees and lost part of the roof to the hurricane.

The repair cost also will include bringing the building up to present-day fire safety and engineering code and repairing scoreboards and mechanical equipment damaged by flood waters.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency or the state’s umbrella insurance policy will pay for the repairs, Menard said.

AP-ES-11-04-05 1645EST


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