After last month’s groundbreaking at Twin Arrows Casino, Northern Arizonans hope to be put to work on the $150 million construction project. “Hopefully, work will be awarded to local contractors, but it is really up to the construction manager’s or owner’s discretion,” said Kim Brewster of Northern Arizona Building Association. “We have a lot of qualified subs in Northern Arizona.”
NJ Shaum & Sons is one of the qualified. “We hope we can get some of the bid,” said Frank Patton, president. The electrical contractor investigated three potential jobs on the project: I-40 interchange work, site lighting for the parking area and electrical work for the facility. He contacted Hunt Construction, the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) overseeing the project, to procure plans for the third job. “Hunt allowed us to look at the electrical drawings, but after looking, we thought it was beyond our ability considering the time constraints dictated by the project.” Patton still hopes to hear on the other two projects. “We haven’t heard anything – they are working on final details.”
“The number of local companies that will be involved is still being worked out,” said Rich Bowen of Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona (ECoNA). “Because of the economy, they are probably getting extremely competitive bids from state and regional contractors that our local contractors may not be able to meet. We’ll see, but because the casino budget has been tightened already – commodities like copper are going up – the original budget is in a “constant value engineering” process to get maximum value per dollar. So other values, like trying to hire local contractors, may go out the window. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Robert White, CEO of the Navajo Gaming Enterprise, confirmed that it was too early to announce bid acceptances. “The CMAR final contract will be signed some time this week. The GMP [Guaranteed Max Price] contract will take place in the month or so.” White explained that the loan arrangements with the Navajo tribe dictate that construction go out to a preliminary bid. “All that is going on now. We’re selecting bidders and there will be no answer for 30 days.”
Marco Spagnuolo of Eagle Mountain Construction is another local businessman hopeful that knowledge of the area might help land the job. “We submitted pricing five to six weeks ago and have been going through rounds of re-pricing since. We’re excited about Twin Arrows being a local job,” said the civil contractor, who does earthwork and underground utilities. If awarded the bid, Eagle Mountain may be working off plans designed in part by Shephard-Wesnitzer, Inc. (SWI) a Flagstaff civil engineering and surveying firm.
SWI did the grading and drainage plan for the whole Twin Arrows site, public infrastructure design for the casino and is wrapping up the design of the wastewater treatment plant and water distribution system.
“We were selected because they wanted someone familiar with the climate and topography of Northern Arizona,” said Guillermo Cortes, SWI. As part of the design team, he took many trips to Phoenix. “It was a great team to work on – very interactive. The project was put together pretty quickly, so architects, structural engineers, MEP [Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing] engineers and civil engineers had to work together really closely.”
Cortes divulged that the Twin Arrows contract was worth about five percent of SWI’s business in 2010. SWI worked with EnvironSystems Management and ETD, Inc. on the project, both of which are woman-owned small businesses headquartered in Flagstaff.
“We did the environmental assessments – both the biological evaluation and the cultural resource investigation,” said Eunice Tso of EDT, a native-owned business.
“We have promoted to the Navajo Gaming Enterprise that it would be more cost effective to look to Flagstaff businesses for their needs, during construction and afterwards,” said Bowen of ECoNA. “We are demonstrating that there is good benefit to use Flagstaff businesses. We are interested in their long-term success and deepening the relationship.”
The Navajo tribe opened its first casino east of Gallup, N.M. in 2008. Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, 21.5 miles east of Flagstaff on I-40 at Exit 219, is the tribe’s first in Arizona. Plans call for a hotel, conference center, spa and golf course at the site.
Hunt Construction’s current projects include the Barclay Center, future home of the Nets in New York City, the Marlins Ballpark in Miami, and the international terminal at the Atlanta International Airport. Completed projects include University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale and Arizona Isleta Casino & Resort near Albuquerque. FBN
Eagle Mountain Construction
3885 E Industrial Dr, Flagstaff
Navajo Gaming Enterprise
PO Box 1700
Church Rock, NM
Northern Arizona Building Association
1500 E Cedar Ave, Ste 86, Flagstaff
NJ Shaum & Sons
25 S Mikes Pike, Flagstaff
110 West Dale Avenue, Flagstaff