New tribal casino planned

Jul 24, 2006 3:54 AM

The Southern Ute Tribe plans to more than triple Sky Ute Casino’s size when it builds a new casino one mile north of the existing facility, said Matt Olin, the casino’s general manager and chief executive office.

Construction on the family-oriented facility should begin in the fall and be completed in spring 2008, he told the Farmington -Daily Times newspaper.

The casino will be the premier gaming facility within the Four Corners area, the tribe stated in a release. The new 300,000-square-foot facility will include a 45,000-square-foot casino, a 150-room hotel with a pool and sun deck, a fitness center, restaurants, bowling center and a convention space that can accommodate 2,000 people, according to the release. The casino will have as many as 700 slot machines, 20 table games, and a 200-seat bingo hall.

Features such as a bowling alley and miniature golf are designed for families with younger children, said Olin. Additional outdoor facilities included in the design, such as walkways and an amphitheater, are intended to accommodate pow-wows and other cultural events.

No other facility within La Plata County can host as many people the planned convention center will be able to, said John Cohen, director of the Durango Area Tourism Office. "It’s much larger than anything else we have."

And, since Ignacio does not have extensive lodging options, visitors are likely to stay overnight in the surrounding communities, Cohen said, adding that during the busiest tourist season, they may even stay in other counties, such as San Juan County.