MULVANE — Mild winter weather has put construction of the Kansas Star Casino’s permanent facility ahead of schedule.
John Gratz, the casino’s construction director, said the permanent casino is scheduled to open by the end of the year on the north side of the temporary arena-casino, which opened in December.
This morning, the Kansas Star hosted a media event as a helicopter air-lifted 16 air handling units weighing about 12 tons per unit to the roof of the permanent casino. Construction crews shut off several access roads around the property for public safety while the helicopter worked.
Gratz said the air handling units will have a 100 percent air exchange rate of 30 cubic feet per minute per person. That means for a population of 5,000 people inside the casino, the system will expel 150,000 cubic feet of air every minute, and provide 100 percent fresh air every 10 minutes.
The permanent casino will be more than 180,000 square feet, Gratz said. The current arena facility is 100,000 square feet, including 53,000 square feet of casino floor.
There have been complaints of smoke at the temporary casino, which has 10 similar air handling units on the roof. Peninsula Gaming, the manager of the Kansas Star, said the ventilation system on the permanent facility is the same system used by properties in Las Vegas, including the Bellagio, Venetian and Wynn & Wynn Encore.
Smoking currently is permitted on the Kansas Star’s gaming floor, but not in employee break rooms, restaurants, the warehouse, offices and back-of house areas.
A bill is pending in the Kansas Legislature to ban smoking on gaming floors at all state-owned casinos.
The permanent Kansas Star will offer expanded gaming, including a poker room, as well an events center, five restaurants and a 150-room hotel. A final phase, scheduled for completion in early 2014, will double the number of hotel rooms and include the opening of an equestrian center.
Peninsula Gaming is estimating a total investment of $314 million in the property.