Firekeepers Casino


Battle Creek, Michigan – New Construction (1,900 Tons), Expansion (400 Tons)

Clark Construction was the Construction Manager for this new 252,800 sq. ft., Las Vegas-style casino constructed on a 78-acre green field site along the busy I-94 Detroit to Chicago corridor by the Nottawaseppi Band of Huron Potawatomi Tribe.  Under a very demanding schedule, Douglas Steel Fabricating Corporation was contracted to fabricate and erect 1,915 tons of structural steel and miscellaneous iron. The structural steel construction had to keep pace with the rapidly unfolding design to support the surge of skilled trades working feverishly to meet the August grand opening deadline. Douglas executed seamless coordination with the other trades to maintain the schedule and deliver the project on time.

Douglas continued work with a recent addition, including a 242-room, resort-style hotel, a bingo hall, a warehouse and more than 20,000 sq. ft. of flexible event space. Unique architectural features transform the casino into a landmark along I-94.  Long-span joists—55 spanning 120-ft long and ranging in depth from 88 in. to 120 in. deep—were used for the event center.

BIM was used to ensure that all joists and decking were manufactured to fit precisely, which minimized change orders upon delivery. The model included all the details required by the HVAC contractor to ensure the ductwork could be exactly prefabricated and routed with no interference. This clash-detection aspect of BIM helped the team avoid a potential field issue between the joist bridging and structural hangers supports for the movable room partitions in the event center. Given the potential difficulty to manufacture these elements, incorporating an accurate model into the process was crucial and ended up saving valuable time and more than $60,000.

This project was featured in the February 2013 issue of AISC’s Modern Steel Construction.