Hospitality Case Study
Hospitality - Margaritaville Casino at River Spirit Completed: TBD 2017
Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma Excellence in Construction Award 2016 Creek Nation Tulsa Bingo began in 1984 on the site which now occupies River Spirit Margaritaville Resort and Casino, an over 1 million square foot entertainment mecca. The $365 million expansion includes a 27-story glass resort hotel tower, 2,600-seat showroom theater, spa, 1,500-car parking structure, several new restaurants, large pool deck with riverside entertainment, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and bar with an adjacent Margaritaville-themed casino. York Electronic Systems provided design-build fire alarm, life safety and area-of-refuge systems.
The life safety systems consist of a network with 35 nodes, over 40 miles of cable and over 15,000 hours completed in under 150 days. Construction of the casino, hotel and theater occurred simultaneously, with phased turnover occurring just months apart. While many contractors on the project struck up a joint venture with peer contractors to address the enormity of this project, York self-performed 100% of the work. Phase I of the project required a replacement of the systems in both the existing River Spirit Casino and parking garage while the casino was fully operational. Strategic coordination with the River Spirit staff was required to ensure that there were no customer interruptions. This required multiple crews, night work, and odd shift work, as well as being escorted and supervised while working in high security areas. Phase II Margaritaville Casino required the fire alarm and voice evacuation system to be integrated with HVAC, sprinkler, access control and audio visual systems as well as completion of the Fire Command Center. To address the need for early detection in mission critical areas such as IT rooms, FAAST specialty aspiration smoke detection was implemented rather than traditional smoke detection. The technology in the Fire Command Center includes a network graphics annunciator (NGA), and a FocalPoint graphical workstation, providing a powerful decision support tool, to help safety and security personnel evaluate complex situations quickly, saving property and most importantly, saving lives. Although Phase III hotel and theater was not scheduled to open until 2017, the Phase II grand opening of the Margaritaville Casino was August 25th, 2016, which required the fire alarm system to be functional in areas that are still under construction. Prior to occupancy, multiple tests were conducted with several other trades and adjustment were made at the last minute, including integration to the overhead sound system to increase alarm intelligibility in the loud casino environment. While the coordination of these tests were arduous during this multi-phased construction and pandemonium of opening a new casino, they were imperative to the safety of the occupants.
The specialized fire alarm and life safety system design throughout the facility addresses code requirements while appeasing an owner and brand strategy with customized aesthetics including lighting and theming. Specialized design and architecture was particularly challenging, such as placement of audio-visual notification appliances that require a surface mounting to a bamboo ceiling that simulates a wave pattern. Another example required unique placement of devices to align with a cloud pattern and hand painted compass found in the 30-foot-tall ceiling of Jimmy Buffet’s Restaurant and Bar. The sheer mass of this project and the multi-phased construction makes for a very strenuous work environment. Zero-tolerance safety standards are strictly enforced and we had no reported work-related accidents or injuries. With 800 plus workers entering the job site each day, even transportation is difficult. Additionally, there is no on-site parking for workers and you must time drop-offs and group transportation so that you do not enter during large worker shift changes that cause lengthy delays. River Spirit Margaritaville Casino is estimated to provide over 1,000 jobs and over $135 million economic impact to Tulsa. This project is truly a game changer for the City of Tulsa.