Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino Expansion
Ak-Chin Indian Community, Ariz.
Award of Merit

Owner/Developer: Ak-Chin Indian Community
Lead Design Firm: TBE Architects
General Contractor: Sundt | Yates Construction, a Joint Venture

Completed in June 2018, the expansion of the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino created the largest gaming destination in Arizona, located on 40 acres near Maricopa, Ariz., 40 miles southeast of Phoenix. The work included an 11-story concrete hotel tower, 20,460 sq ft of gaming space, new food and beverage venues, a multipurpose event/banquet center, a 750-car parking garage, bingo hall and a full-service spa and fitness center. 

In addition, a pedestrian bridge now spans Ak-Chin Parkway, linking the second floor of the new casino with the Ultra Star Family Entertainment Center across the street. The team also expanded the central plant and upgraded miles of roadway to improve access to the facility.

Gaming is the largest economic generator for the traditionally agricultural area, and in turn helps improve community services and contributes to nearby non-Native American communities.

Because the expansion links to the existing casino and the as-built drawings were inconsistent, the team used geo-located aerial photography, laser-scanning, ground-penetrating radar and selected destructive investigation to document actual conditions. Revit and BIM models allowed the architect, engineers, construction managers, trades and ownership to share precise information.

An art and design committee comprised of community members ensured that the facility incorporated tribal themes to balance the overall contemporary design.

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