Fort Hall facility progressing

FORT HALL — Each day when he goes to work, Jim Metzger sees a little more progress on the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center.
Metzger is the Director of Hospitality for the facility going up in front of the Fort Hall Casino. Thursday he and Randy'L Teton, the Tribes' public affair manager, showed the progress workmen are making on the building.
"We have between 120 and 140 employees working on-site every day," Metzger said. He added those numbers will remain fairly stable when the hotel opens for business.
"Currently we have contractors from throughout the region," Teton added.
When they walk into the completed facility, guests will be in a cavernous central core which features the front desk, a sports grill, deli and a retail shop.
"The sports grill, which will feature 28 TVs, will be a great place to bring the family for dinner to see the game," Metzger said. "The deli will be for breakfast and lunch."
The retail shop will feature Shoshone-Bannock products among its offerings.
The five-story hotel will have 156 rooms, including 10 large suites which inter-connect with two additional rooms each.
Workmen are busy putting up the drywall on some floors, laying carpet on others, attaching wallpaper and beginning the process of making what is now a skeleton into a hotel.
Wallpaper on hallway walls shimmered with color, pinks and oranges, blues and greens, the colors seen on the sides of a salmon.
"Everything was chosen for a reason," Teton said, noting that the five floors will be themed for five animals important to the Shoshone and the Bannock. Those animals include the salmon, elk, bear, buffalo and eagle.
On Thursday the 15,000 square foot convention center echoed with construction sounds. Upon completion it will be capable of seating 950 for some events, as many as 1,400 for trade shows or concerts.
Teton said artwork on the walls will be by tribal artists as the Shoshone and Bannock display elements of their culture throughout the facility.
Each day workmen add to the appearance of the hotel, which Metzger proudly notes will be first-class in every aspect.
"You see the sense of ownership and pride with the finish of the entire property," he said.
While the hotel is important to the Tribes, it is equally so for surrounding communities, Metzger said.
"The reality is we won't be able to house all the people who come for our events," he added. "That means they'll go to our neighboring communities to eat and stay. So there's a chance of increasing the size of the pie for all of us."