Federal officials have closed an investigation of the latest Mojave desert tortoise encounter at Tuacahn, giving the southern Utah arts complex the green light to open next month.

The Heritage Arts Foundation learned last week that it can open the Tuacahn art school Jan. 9, executive director Doug Stewart said.Work on other parts of the $18 million complex will continue after the school opens, Stewart said.

The U.S. Justice Department recently finished its investigation of a breakdown in notification procedures Sept. 28 when two tortoises were spotted on an access road to the construction site, said Justice Department spokesman Bert Brand-en-burg.

Tuacahn had been required to notify authorities if any of the endangered tortoises were seen on complex property. That stipulation was made in an earlier agreement between the foundation and the Justice Department after two dead tortoises were found along a road leading to the construction site in May.

Stewart said he had received reassurance from the Justice Department that there was no pending disciplinary action.

The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service will monitor the center's roads twice a day, Stewart said. In addition, the foundation has pledged to keep its fence in good condition and file weekly status reports.