Reaching new heights

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

By By Adam Prestridge
Construction of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ multi-million dollar casino and hotel is quickly taking shape, changing the once rural setting Atmore was established upon to that of a tourist destination off Exit 57 on Interstate 65.
At 17-stories, Wind Creek Casino &Hotel, which will top $230 million when construction is completed, is just over 90 days away from beginning operations of its 50,000-square-foot gaming floor.
Tim Martin, President and CEO of Creek Indian Enterprises, is not too concerned about hitting the January 2009 target date, in fact, construction has gone smoothly and construction costs are under the estimated $250 million originally set. He is, however, uneasy about hiring the required amount of employees to run the highly complex facility.
The casino and hotel calls for 172 positions, creating 800 new jobs once the facility is fully operational, according to Martin.
Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said the opportunities for employment offered by the casino and hotel to residents of Atmore and neighboring towns is “a very good thing at a time when the economy is having its struggles.”
Shell added that the new jobs should help boost Atmore’s local economy.
The casino will offer jobs ranging from supervisors to game attendants and the hotel will offer various job opportunities including front office, housekeeping, valet, bellhops and room service.
Besides the casino and hotel, there will be numerous other job opportunities inside the facility, which will include a steakhouse, caf/, buffet, coffee shop, entertainment stage and several lounges. Those entities will require numerous chefs, short-order cooks, butchers, food preparers, bartenders, host and hostesses, waiters and waitresses and cashiers.
In addition, the four-diamond facility, which will be operational 24-hours a day and will offer three shifts, will require around-the-clock security, maintenance and IT support to ensure the backbone of each operation continues without any down time.
To fill each position, Martin knows he will have to recruit prospects from other cities and has a game plan in store.
Marshall Rogers, Executive Director for the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, said she is excited about the opportunities the casino and hotel offers and has been working with the Tribe in ensuring skilled workers are available.
In addition, the project site, which encompasses 35-acres, has created nearly 350 construction jobs, according to Creek Indian Enterprises Construction Project Controls Manager James R. Angus, P.E.

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