It may be as cold as it gets here in the great American Southwest, but the construction market is not nearly as tepid. From opportunities to learn to the announcement of new technologies that will debut in the region, activity is robust.
Aria Resort & Casino To Expand LEED-Certified Convention Center
Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas will undertake a $154-million convention center expansion project that will add 200,000 square feet of space to the venue’s existing space. The new construction will maintain the convention center’s LEED Gold-certified rating.

The expansion will include new ballrooms, exclusive loading docks, indoor and outdoor breakout rooms and a top floor complete with ballroom and outdoor patio.

"Convention business at ARIA is booming, and demand is currently exceeding the space we have available," says Bobby Baldwin, ARIA's president & COO. "Hosting large meetings and conventions is a core part of our business; as our clients' needs grow, we are committed to grow with them."

The casino scheduled construction to begin in May 2016 and expects the additions to be complete by February 2018.
Arizona Builders Alliance Seminar to Address New OSHA Regulations
The Arizona Builders Alliance (ABA) will host a seminar on Jan. 26 to address new OSHA confined space requirements. The seminar will focus on the new regulations and address how they will affect builders in Arizona.

The new OSHA regulations include mandatory identification of all confined spaces on a construction site and the creation of formal procedures for entering confined spaces that may contain hazardous materials. Arizona OSHA is currently in the process of adopting the new rules.

The event will take place at McCarthy Building Companies, 6225 N. 24th St, Phoenix. Tickets cost $45 for ABA members and $90 for non-members.
Nevada To House Hyperloop Test Site
Hyperloop Technologies Inc. announced that it will build its first test site in Nevada. The company will locate its Propulsion Air Test (POAT) at the Mountain View Industrial Park in Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas.

“This decision represents another major milestone in our journey to bring Hyperloop to commercial reality,” says Rob Lloyd, CEO, Hyperloop Technologies, Inc. “Hyperloop Technologies will invest first in regions where we receive government advocacy to move fast. We are grateful for the support we have received from Gov. Sandoval, the Nevada Office of Economic Development and Mayor Lee and his team from the city of North Las Vegas.”

Hyperloop is a developing high-speed transportation system that projects to move people and goods to move at extremely high speeds within a controlled tube. Hyperloop Technologies will use the POAT to test its linear electric motor at speeds up to 540 kph along a 1 km track. It expects to begin testing in the first quarter of this year.

The company is still looking for a home for its Safety, Development and Test site, which it plans to open in late-2016 or early-2017. That site will house a three-kilometer full-scale prototype Hyperloop track.
Two Units to Close at San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved an agreement that will allow PNM Resources' New Mexico Utility, Public Service Co. of New Mexico to retire two units at San Juan Generating Station. The decision will help the state adhere to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan.

The agreement allows for the closure of two of the station’s four coal-burning units. The closure will take place by Dec. 31, 2017. It also includes environmental upgrades to the remaining units, including the installation of Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction equipment.

"We are very pleased to have Commission approval of the agreement," says Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM Resources' chairman, president and CEO. "The record for this case over the last two years has demonstrated our continued commitment to customers to provide reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable power. This plan not only represents the least-cost alternative for compliance with federal environmental regulations, but also protects the economy of the Four Corners region and the state."

The plan will allow for a significant reduction in water consumption and emissions at the remaining units and provide cost savings for customers.