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Alert planning supported by advanced technology coupled with a can-do attitude led to Guarantee’s nomination for an AGC Keystone Award for the company’s turnkey electrical installation of the River City Casino.  It began with GECO’s innovative constructability modeling that served as a catalyst in winning the 17-month new construction contract for Pinnacle Entertainment’s $351 million, 90,000-square-foot casino in south St. Louis County.  The same tool set helped to bring the project in successfully in just 12 months, allowing the casino to open in early March 2010.  Guarantee provided design and value-engineering, and coordinated installation of all power, lighting, security and data systems for the full-service casino entertainment venue.  Everything about the River City was large scale, most notably the facility’s truly monumental game room at 90,000 sq. ft. with better than 11,000electrical outlets, and featuring more than 2,000 slot machines, 55 gaming tables, fourteen commercial grade kitchens supporting five restaurants and a night club.

According to Roger Oertli, EVP Missouri Operations, “We knew that Pinnacle’s desire to reflect the latest trends in gaming would necessitate a very fluid design process throughout the project.” He was right, design changes were frequent and substantial, leading to a host of installation challenges requiring thorough documentation and administration.  To meet these challenges from the outset, GECO equipped its on-site trailer with a complete Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D-CAD system thereby assuring that design changes were immediately transferred to Guarantee’s veteran  field crews led by Mike Richardson, and George Wilson.

Our first and most complex task was to closely coordinate the power distribution throughout the various electrical rooms.  This entailed a substantial design change relocating overhead distribution to below slab.  Moving to underground feeders and in-floor branch conduits rather than overhead raceways ended up simplifying MEP coordination by dramatically reducing collisions and interference with mechanical systems.  Building out the power distribution prior to pouring the slab meant that a considerable piece of our task set was front-loaded in the project, so that weather delays and design changes didn’t affect us nearly as much as they could have and enabled us to turn power on before the building was enclosed.

GECO’s off-site prefabrication resources enabled the company to pre-fabricate conduit and virtually all wire pulls for the gaming floor, which contained more than 1,000 activation points, enabling us to simplify and speed a complex and disparate installation and to overcome challenges presented by the many substantial changes to the original plans.  Prefabrication was also expertly applied to precisely pre-cut feeder lines that linked the land-based power room to the floating barge on which the casino was constructed.  

The owner and operator of eight casinos in five states (Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio and Nevada) Pinnacle Entertainment has proved to be a discriminating and demanding client. In the case of River City Casino, the quality validation was proved in performance.  System start-up and commissioning were flawless.  To date, there have been ZERO call backs for warranty repairs.  Testifying to its high regard of Guarantee’s performance, Pinnacle continues to retain Guarantee to perform electrical and systems maintenance services. 

One hallmark of new casino projects is rapid, on-going design evolution during the construction phase.  In addressing this reality of nearly constant change at River City Casino, GECO produced more than 1,000 sheets of construction drawings, all in an environment of near real-time production and problem solving.  As a consequence, the casino was able to open two months ahead of schedule and was delivered within budget.  Guarantee was instrumental in achieving this result through focused coordination of the engineering team, Harold Baca, Walter Chappell and Mike Deterding.   Their alertness in anticipating scheduling deviations, engineering challenges together with quick-turn material procurement consistently resolved these and other challenges in a timely manner. 

With myriad of changes and an accelerated timeline while staying within the original budget the River City project remained accident-free for its duration.  After clocking nearly a hundred thousand man hours and dealing with thousands of alterations, with complexities and challenges of every kind imaginable, completing the project ahead of schedule without a single incident is truly remarkable, and everyone on the team deserves enormous credit.

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