Sho-Ban Tribes break ground on hotel project

FORT HALL — Leaders of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes celebrated the ceremonial groundbreaking on their new hotel and events center Wednesday by touting the economical benefits of the project.
The $47 million, 164,000 square foot project will consist of a five-story hotel with 156 rooms and an 1,400-seat events center with meeting, conference, banquet and entertainment venues. The project is being funded by a loan through the Bank of Albuquerque. The hotel will be located just off Interstate 15 at the current location of the Trading Post Grocery Store and Clothes Horse.
Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Nathan Small spoke to a large crowd of tribal members and employees as well as local leaders and community members during the ceremony.
"We put a lot of money out into the surrounding areas and it's good to see the people in the surrounding areas are appreciative of that and support our efforts and support the tribes here in progressing even more as we go along," Small said.
The Tribes' Executive Director, Angelo Gonzales, said the money going into the project will benefit the surrounding communities through additional jobs, supplies purchased and additional visitors to the area.
"The money that we generate from this project, which is just under $50 million, we go and spend it in the neighboring communities," Gonzales said. "The employment, the boost to the economy—is a good thing."
There will be an average of 100 workers on-site each month of the 14-month project. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are seeking to fill all available positions will qualified Native Americans in accordance with the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance. The Tribes have already hosted one job fair, and plan to host a second in the future.
A representative from the Idaho Department of Commerce read aloud a letter from Commerce Director Don Dietrich to the business council.
"The breath and depth of this project is impressive," the letter read. "We are thrilled that you will be bringing more events and visitors to Idaho."
Jim Rockar, SenecaTerra LLC project executive, was hired by the Tribes' to represent their interests in the hotel project. He said work on the concrete structure for the hotel will begin in mid-May and last through September. Structural steel will be installed for the events center from mid-June through August. Workers will enclose the building by Nov. 30, enabling work to continue through the winter months.
The project is scheduled to be completed Memorial Day weekend 2012. Beniton Penta is the general contractor and the building was designed by DLR Group KKE Architects.
The Tribes plan to expand the existing Fort Hall Casino after the completion of the hotel.