Wolf Trap came a step closer yesterday to receiving federal funds to rebuild the Filene Center, which was destroyed by a fire last April.

The House approved a bill authorizing a $9 million grant and an $8 million loan to Wolf Trap. Before Wolf Trap can receive funds, the Senate must make similar authorization. An appropriations bill, setting aside the money, must also pass the House and the Senate.

Carol Harford, president of the Wolf Trap Foundation, said she expected Wolf Trap will be able to pay back the full loan. "If we're able to do what we're hoping to do," said Harford, "we'll be able to raise the money without taking the loan." Wolf Trap has raised $1.7 million so far.

"I'm glad we finally got it out of our hands," said Rep. John Seiberling (D-Ohio), chairman of the House Interior subcommittee on public lands and national parks, which held hearings and marked up the authorization bill. Seiberling's subcommittee was concerned that noise from the proposed Dulles toll road adjacent to the Wolf Trap site would interfere with concerts, so it wrote into the bill some safeguards against noise problems.

"I would hope the Senate would take our bill and just go with it," said Seiberling. "We spent more time on it than they did. Besides, ours is for $17 million total grant and loan package . Theirs is for $18 million. Ours is cheaper."

If the funds are approved soon, Wolf Trap could begin construction in early December, according to Harford.