Tribes schedule hotel, event center groundbreaking

For the Morning News
FORT HALL — An event celebrating the long-awaited construction of a hotel and events center by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday just west of the Interstate 15 Fort Hall Exit.
The “groundbreaking” event will be held amidst a hubbub of pre-construction activity at the site that started a month early due to favorable weather conditions, said Nathan Small, tribal chairman.
The Phase 1 expansion includes a 5-story hotel with 156 rooms; laundry, guest pool, spa and fitness center; a 125-seat sports grill and 45-seat deli; and a 1,400- seat events center with meeting, conference, banquet and entertainment venues.
“The addition of a hotel and event center is meant to encourage people to come here more than just to play the gaming machines,” said Small.
“The events center is intended to draw headliner events to our area as well as accommodate larger meetings and banquets.”
Before making the decision to build the $47 million hotel and events center, the tribes commissioned a feasibility study in two years ago and negotiated with several financial institutions before securing a loan from the Bank of Albuquerque, which has financed the construction and expansion of several major tribal casinos in the southwest.
Wednesday's event, which will include speakers and refreshments, will take place adjacent to the primary construction site, where excavation, underground utility placement and initial concrete work have already begun.