Finishes Being Added to Replacement Casino

Soboba project is taking colorful shape ◆ By Mike Hiles

Biltmore Buff, Natural Tan, Portobello and Pottery Urn are the colors being added to the exterior walls of the Soboba replacement casino and hotel resort project in San Jacinto. Before the finish coat can be added, several layers of material must be put on to ensure a perfectly insulated and stable surface. The EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) is a synthetic stucco siding that provides walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in an integrated composite material system.

There is currently a gradient effect as the exterior gets completed with one end showing final color, the middle section primed and the next area with blue waterproof material with white foam insulation for protection against the elements. Jose Mireles, one of the assistant superintendents on the construction crew, said the area is in the finishing stages and should be completed by the end of May.

Andrew Hansen and Kevin Hokanson are with the project's lead contractor C.W. Driver. They explained that once the exterior walls have been finished, windows will begin to be installed.

Another hefty task will be mounting 20 Air Handler Units onto the roofs. The units range in size from 10- to 35-feet long, weigh between 7,000 and 43,000 pounds each and can supply up to 40,000 cubic feet of air per minute, each.

"The units serving the casino process 100 percent outside air to maximize ventilation and air quality for the casino environment," Hokanson said. "The casino units have an energy recovery system as well, leading to a lessened impact on the environment and better overall operating efficiency."

With all the structural components completed, the next big push will be to finish up the interior framing so all the drywall can be done. Assistant superintendent Zach Garcia said once the interior ceilings are done, light fixtures can be installed.

Although the construction workers at the resort will be headed indoors soon to keep things moving along, those at the golf course are keeping busy outdoors.

The Country Club at Soboba Springs General Manager, Ray Shalizi, said 17 acres of sod was recently laid at the golf course. It took about three weeks and was completed in April.

"The sod was laid to the areas that were affected by the renovation of holes 13 through 16," Shalizi said. "A massive amount of earth was moved to create the new lake and island green reshaping as well as irrigation upgrades. Laying of the sod rather than seeding will ensure that we have pristine playing conditions in time for opening the new course."

In addition to putting the finishing touches on the renovated holes, Golf Operations Manager Frank Luchowski is working with the PGA to re-rate the course. Golf Course Superintendent Alvaro Fitzsimmons and his crew are working on renovating several bunkers as part of an ongoing maintenance plan. They are also busy converting several existing fairways to a hybrid Bermuda grass which will further improve course conditions and the bi-annual aerification has also been completed. All this work is being done while the course stays open for avid golfers to continue playing.

"With any large-scale project such as this, there are inherent challenges that arise, however, with the level of organization and proactive planning from my team – along with support from our Tribal Council, Tribal Administrator and CFO – to implement an alternate course during this time, the renovation has been moving along at a steady clip," Shalizi said.