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Lotus Casino Phase II Completed – Interview with Project Manager Lauren Cowden

Posted on February 22, 2017

The project has just completed phase 2. What have you accomplished so far?

In phase 2, we completed the new addition to the building. The new addition was 9,521 SF in total and included the main gaming floor, a VIP gaming floor, a bar, public restrooms and a back of house area for the cage staff.

What must still be completed in phase 3?

In phase 3, we are renovating the existing 5,336 SF casino building. The existing building will serve as the back of house area for the staff and includes the kitchen. We will also be installing a new roof, mechanical units, and adding a new façade to the existing building that matches the new addition.

This project has some very unique challenges. The first one that comes to mind is keeping the facility fully operational for the duration of construction work. How did you accommodate this? What were the challenges?

To keep the building operational, the project has to be completed in phases. The first phase was extending the parking lot for the casino so the customers could park in the non construction areas. Phase 2 was the new addition, and while that was being completed, the casino could still operate normally in their existing building. A lot of coordination has been required on this project in having multiple design consultants, specialty finishes, taking on the security package, and combining the new addition with the existing casino.

Security and regulatory compliance was also a major and important factor during this build. What were some of the specifications you had to meet, and how did you meet them?

The Department of Justice  (DOJ) played a large role in making sure the new casino could open on time. To make sure there would be no delays in the opening, the project team and casino staff made sure the DOJ came on job site progress walks frequently to make sure all construction was in compliance. Keeping that group up to date on the construction progress eliminated any surprises.

What other industries might require this level of security and rigorous regulations?

I could see cannabis growing facilities and dispensaries having the same, if not more rigorous, security regulations as the casino.

The chandelier was a huge logistical challenge. What went into installing it?

The  45 foot, 5,000 lbs.  lotus flower chandelier had 55 attachment points that had to be within a 1/16” tolerance. To make that happen, the layout had to be done on the ground then projected up on the ceiling from the ground using a laser to get the attachment points exactly right. These attachment locations also had to consider HVAC duct, fire sprinklers and electrical interferences as they were being placed. Had that not happened, the fixture would not have been hung or would have had to be re-manufactured, delaying the project. The subcontractor responsible for the support structure did a great job, and as a result the chandelier was installed properly.

How does this project differ from most?

The project is a 24/7 operation so every aspect of construction scheduling had to be considered with security and casino operations.  Combined both a new addition and an existing building. Usually a project is one or the other.

What did you learn the most from this project and why?

After working on this project, I really have a greater appreciation for the Pre-Construction services Sierra View has to offer. It is so important to have the contractor come on board prior to a project starting to make sure the plans are fully coordinated and the schedule throughout. Without this step, the schedule is delayed, the owner has to spend more money and all parties involved become frustrated. It’s vital to keeping a project on time.