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Právo: Costs of repair of Czech State Opera to quadruple

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Prague, Jan 21 (CTK) – The repair of the dilapidated State Opera in Prague, a building protected as national heritage, will cost almost one billion crowns, four times more than the original estimate, daily Pravo writes yesterday.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) wants to submit a proposal of the public order for the renewal of the building, situated near Wenceslas Square, with the price of up to 933 million crowns to the government, Pravo writes.
“The reconstruction is absolutely necessary. The State Opera may look good outwardly, but the real state is much worse,” Herman told the paper.
“The theatre is trying to maintain the space for the audience, but the technological background is truly disastrous,” he added.
This is the second huge reconstruction in the Prague centre. The State Opera lies close to the National Museum, whose large-scale reconstruction started last year and will cost 1.636 billion crowns.
There has been no major repair of the State Opera since the 1970s. The first estimates of the price spoke about 250 million crowns.
Three years later, the estimate rose to 360 million. This almost doubled to 665 million crowns in the following year and a still higher sum of 715 million was set one year later, Pravo writes.
Now Herman has come up with 933.1 million crowns, it adds.
Former culture minister Vitezslav Jandak (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the sum was exaggerated.
“I remember the start of the discussion about the State Opera. It was suggested that the theatre turntable that was falling down should be exchanged,” Jandak said.
“At that time, 15 million were spoken about. But as we are in the Czech Republic, I am afraid that we will cross even the one billion,” he added.
Herman said he believed the reconstruction would be eventually cheaper.
He said the sum had resulted from the work of an inter-ministerial expert commission.
It took into account the fact that not only the technological background, but also the facade, windows and other parts of the building should be repaired.
The reconstruction will start this summer after the present theatre season ends and it must be finished by September 2018, Herman said.
($1 = 24.789 crowns)

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