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Osage Casino expansion projects underway for Ponca City and Skiatook

Groundbreaking for Ponca City casino is being finalized
Osage Casinos will soon begin their casino expansion projects to the Ponca City Osage Casino (shown here in 2008) and the Skiatook Osage Casino. More games and hotels for both. Osage News File Photo

The Osage Casino is moving forward with plans to improve the Nation’s seven-casino venture by adding hotels and new casino buildings at the Ponca City and Skiatook casinos. 

Groundbreaking for the Ponca City project is being finalized. Construction on the project, which includes a 48-room hotel and casino with up to 450 machines, is expected to last 11 months.

The Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise Board hired a Las Vegas architecture firm with casino project experience, including tribal casinos, to design the project. The firm, Marnell Companies, will work with the project management company Square One and construction company Osage Manhattan Builders on the projects.

Representatives of the companies met with the gaming board at its July 17 meeting to briefly discuss the projects.

“Our role as a management group is to interface with everyone,” said Kevin Fleming, president of Square One. “We have schedules to meet, we certainly have budgets to meet, we deal with obstacles that occur.”

Fleming said there are 30 to 40 people involved in the project and said other project duties include working with utility agencies (i.e. water, sewer, gas) and creating agreements if needed.

David Howryla, president of Marnell Companies, said the projects will be completed in phases which allows the casinos to expand in the future. Marnell’s services include consulting, architecture, construction, construction management and building transportation projects, according to its Web site.

According to Marnell’s portfolio, the company’s previous casino projects extend nationwide from the Las Vegas Strip to Atlantic City, N.J.

Those projects include: Bellagio (Las Vegas); Harrah’s Atlantic City expansion; Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway (Kansas City, Kans.); and Harrah’s Biloxi Grand Hotel and Casino (Biloxi, Miss.). On the tribal project front, Marnell worked on the Sandia Pueblo hotel and golf course at its casino near Albuquerque, N.M.

Ponca City and Skiatook casino plans

Howryla said the first phase of the Ponca City casino project includes gaming space for up to 450 machines and a two-story hotel with 48 rooms. The project also calls for a convenience store, two restaurants and 5,000 feet of conference room space.

The Ponca City casino sits on land east of the Arkansas River with space allowing for expansion. Howryla said the space could double the hotel size and be used to build a larger entertainment venue.

Plans also call for the Ponca City casino to have a sewer line connecting the new facility to the Ponca City sewer infrastructure to handle the anticipated extra use. This involves building the sewer line under the Arkansas River to access the Ponca City line.

Kimberly Pearson, executive assistant for Osage Casino, said the sewer line project is underway with boring under the river complete. The next step is to build the wet-well. She said the project is expected to be complete in December.

On the Skiatook casino project, Howryla said phase one for the new facility has space for up to 300 machines, two small restaurants and a 33-room hotel. The project also includes a fitness center, coffee bar and convenience store. Dates for starting and completing construction on the Skiatook casino are unknown.

Gaming board member Randy Carnett said Marnell is one of five companies interviewed by the board for the casino projects. “We couldn’t help but say ‘wow,’” he said after the meeting.

Osage Manhattan Builders, a subsidy of the Osage Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the construction company for the project. The company also worked on the renovation project of the Osage Casino in Sand Springs.

New gaming commission executive director named

Danielle Brashear has been named the new executive director for the ON Gaming Commission. She has served as its deputy director and fills the position previously held by Matthew Shunkamolah, who resigned earlier this year.

Brashear will report to the three-member Gaming Commission – the regulatory and oversight authority for the Nation’s gaming operations.