Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino Completes Addition

A roulette wheelHarrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino in Cherokee, N.C. recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of a major expansion project at the already-sprawling complex. The resort added a fourth hotel tower, The Cherokee, along with an 83,000 square foot convention center, which both opened in mid-October 2021. This expansion has significantly enhanced the resort’s meeting and convention capability while allowing it to take on the increased number of guests.

The Construction Project

The project broke ground in June 2018 but had multiple delays due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately taking more than three and a half years to finish. Whiting Turner completed the construction work at a cost of $330 million.

The New Space

The new, three-level convention center more than triples the size of the resort’s former meeting space. It includes a 32,000 square foot ballroom, a pre-function ballroom, an exhibition hall, and 26 meeting spaces.

When it comes to the new hotel tower, calling it massive would be an understatement. The tower is 19 stories tall, featuring 725 rooms and seven suites. The design of the indoor space features accents of charcoal gray, burnt sienna, and golden hues with both eucalyptus and walnut woods.

The open-air, two-story lobby contains a 50-seat bar and lounge, which features a blue marble wall with cascading bottles of wine. The registration desk, which stretches more than 30 feet long, is another example of the impeccable design detailing in the project. Made of onyx stone in front of a slatted walnut wood design, it is lit to create a representation of the Smoky Mountains.

The second floor of the tower features a terrace pool and fitness center with breathtaking views of the mountains. Additionally, there are two 800 square foot suites with full kitchens and private pool access.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino’s expansion project. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

Ball State’s Foundational Sciences Building Celebrates One Year

Ball State UniversitySaturday will mark the one-year anniversary of the ceremonial ribbon cutting for Ball State University’s new Foundational Sciences Building. The construction of the new academic building is part of a multi-step process to replace the aging Cooper Science Building while also increasing the university’s capacity to handle STEM students. Students who take courses in biology and chemistry are now in their second year of enjoying the amenities offered by the new Foundational Sciences Building.

The New Building

Although the ceremonial ribbon cutting was held just about a year ago, the biology and chemistry departments of Ball State University actually transferred from the Cooper Science Building to the Foundational Sciences Building in June 2021. The fall semester began a few months later. The construction process was a rather smooth one that continued through the COVID-19 pandemic. Groundbreaking for the new building, located on the campus’ East Quad took place in early September 2019. Shiel Sexton performed the construction work for the project, which cost $87.5 million in total and was internally funded by the university.

The five story structure spans more than 205,000 square feet. It features 72 laboratories in total – 28 for teaching and 44 for research purposes. There are also six classrooms, an imaging suite, conference rooms, a research library, computer labs, collaborative spaces, an aquatics suite, and faculty and graduate offices.

There are areas throughout the building where students can learn beyond the classroom, featuring comfortable seating, rolling whiteboards, and interactive screens. The amenities represent a significant upgrade over the previously used Cooper Science building, allowing both students and faculty to be on the cutting edge of both education and research. As an added bonus, the new building has some of the best views on campus.

The roughly 900 chemistry and biology students of the Ball State University will be able to benefit from the increased space, new equipment, and more places to study. Compared to the old building, the Foundational Sciences Building offers students far more space to collaborate, study together, and work between classes. According to the university’s website, the design of the building was developed with several goals in mind. These included planning for flexibility and long-term change, wellness and sustainability, planning for potential future expansion, and allowing for easier cross-collaboration between departments.

A Larger Vision

The construction of the new Foundational Sciences Building was not a standalone project, it was part of a larger vision of Ball State University. The school is trying to help accommodate the growing need for STEM professionals in both Indiana and workplaces across the country, while doing a wholesale revamp of the East Quad of the Campus.

The first phase of the plan was complete when a new Health Professionals Building opened just south of the eventual location of the Foundational Sciences Building in 2019. The 165,000 square foot building houses the university’s College of Health. The brick, glass, and limestone structure cost roughly $62.5 million to build and features classrooms, offices, laboratories, clinical spaces, a resource hub, and simulation labs.

The third and final phase of the project is ongoing and involves renovating part of the Cooper Science Building while also demolishing another part of it. The current renovations are taking place in the west end of the building and encompass a total of 160,000 square feet. The newly-renovated space will house the geography, geology, astronomy, physics, natural resources, and environmental management. The renovation is scheduled to be completed in April 2023. After that, the 130,000 square foot east end of the structure will be demolished in December 2023.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of Ball State University’s new Foundational Sciences Building. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

George Washington University’s Thurston Hall Reopens to Students

A bust of George Washington at the entrance of the universityGeorge Washington University’s oldest and largest residence hall reopened last week, welcoming new students for the first time in three years. These students will be walking into a building that bears little resemblance to the one that last housed students in 2019.

The building has undergone massive renovations over the course of a two-year construction project that cost an estimated $80 million. Here is a little bit more information on the project and the final product:

The Timeline

As the oldest resident hall on campus, Thurston began to develop a negative reputation for issues with mold and general disrepair. In 2018, the university announced there would be renovations. Over the following year-plus, the key consultants involved worked on the design process and coordinated  where to house students during the construction process. The work, which was completed by Clark Construction, began in May 2020. VMDO Architecture led the design process.

The New and Improved Building

Thurston Hall now has the capacity to house up to 825 students, spread among single and double rooms. There are sixteen study lounges, all equipped with new furniture and natural light. The building will also feature a new dining hall, which is set to open within the next month. This new dining space will offer students the option of paying via facial recognition technology.

In general, there is more space for students. The hallways are wider, the rooms are larger, the new elevators are more spacious. Each floor has its own kitchen, laundry room and private, gender-neutral bathroom.

Among the new amenities is an enclosed rooftop common room that offers students a view of all of the monuments and landmarks in our nation’s capital. Additionally, at the center of the building, there is a “three-season atrium” with plentiful greenspace, giving students a place to gather, study and relax.

The new Thurston Hall also affords alumni and other donors the opportunity to be a permanent part of the new building. The school is offering the option of buying a tile with your name on it, which will appear in a GW mosaic in the lobby of the residence.

At Construction Protection Systems, we are proud to have played a small part in development of the renovation of George Washington University’s Thurston Hall. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital Now Open

A stone sign for Michigan State UniversityThe McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital opened its doors in March after extensive construction. The facility is located on Michigan State University’s Corporate Research Park. The new campus is far more than just a hospital – it will provide a wide variety of medical services while also serving educational and research purposes for the students and professors at Michigan State’s College of Human Medicine. Here’s more information about the new, state-of-the-art facility:

What It Contains

The new medical campus includes a 240-bed hospital to serve the Greater Lansing community, an Emergency Department that includes a Level III trauma and primary stroke center, the Karmanos Cancer Institute, a health and wellness pavilion, a heart and vascular institute, sports medicine and orthopedic center, a birthplace and an outpatient care center.

The university expects that this new facility will eventually house more than 1,000 physicians, educators, researchers and other academic and medical professionals.

One of the non-medical goals when building the new facility was to create a more comforting environment for patients, their loved ones and anyone else visiting the hospital. Patients are given private rooms with personal temperature controls, Wi-Fi and a wide array of entertainment options. There’s a public cafeteria with a diverse spread of options, including five food stations. The facility is also outfitted with rest areas, outdoor seating and walking spaces.

The Construction Project

Construction of the new facility was announced in late 2017. Over the course of the following year, McLaren Health surveyed the Greater Lansing community to get input on the design of the new hospital. Ultimately, this feedback was used in the planning process as well as the construction, which was completed by Barton Malow.

The facility is nine stories and 562,000 square feet. It’s located on the 39-acre healthcare campus at the university’s corporate research park. In all, the project cost more than $600 million.

Michigan State has announced that they will be adding to the University Health Park with a new medical office building. The structure will house Spartan Radiology – a reference to the university’s mascot and another joint venture between the university and McLaren Greater Lansing Medical Services.  The building, which will feature more than 20,000 square feet of space and brand-new imaging equipment, is expected to open next summer.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of the McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

SDSU Raven Precision Agriculture Center Entering Second Year

The flag of the State of South DakotaThe South Dakota State University Raven Precision Agricultural Center will begin its second academic year of use after celebrating its completion last September. The building is already housing important work as the university helps prepare students for the future of American agriculture.

The Background

SDSU is land-grant university, meaning it receives benefits under the 19th century Morrill Acts. Essentially, the United States government helped establish the university under the condition it would focus at least partially on agriculture and the mechanical arts, in addition to other sciences and fields of study.

Back in 2015, the university began offering a minor in precision agriculture and then became the country’s first land-grant university to offer it as a major for a bachelor’s degree as well in 2016. In the years since, a few dozen students have graduated with this degree, but many more are currently enrolled in this program with the Raven Precision Agriculture Center serving as their new academic home. They are joined by hundreds more students who are gaining valuable laboratory and classroom experience for their studies in agronomy, agricultural systems technology, agricultural science and agricultural and biosystems engineering.

The New Facilities

The construction of the Raven Precision Agricultural Center took more than three years as work went on through the COVID-19 pandemic. The new 122,694 square-foot facility has both the space and the amenities to allow students to get the most hands-on experience in the field of agriculture.

There are 15 teaching labs, 12 research labs, more than 50 offices for graduate students and 22 collaborative spaces in addition to areas that will contain modern precision farm equipment. For example, there is a 3-ton overhead crane in 4,245 square-foot high-bay area, which will allow students to get hands-on experience of what it’s like to work with modern, heavy farm machinery.

Of course, the new building benefits more than just students. According to the university’s website, scientists from various departments and also industry partners from the agricultural field will be able to collaborate on research, education and outreach in the new facility.

The Raven Precision Agricultural Center project came with a price tag of $46.1 million. Support for the project came from partners in the agricultural industry, stakeholder groups in South Dakota and a variety of legislative leaders in South Dakota. McCown Gordon Construction completed the construction work.

The Benefits

Before the construction of this new facility, the various agriculture-related departments were all housed in separate buildings. Now, agriculture and biosystems engineering, agronomy, horticulture and plant science departments are all together in the Raven Precision Agriculture Center. This is an especially important development considering the growing precision agriculture major.

One of the goals for the new facility was to create an environment with increased student-faculty interaction, more research collaboration between department and enhanced networking opportunities in the field of agriculture. With the technology of agriculture continuing to develop rapidly, SDSU wants to ensure that their students are not left behind. In fact, the hope is the new facility and the equipment and amenities within help the students lead the way going forward.

Technology in the agricultural industry changes constantly, due to updates in the fields of drones, GPS, farm equipment, satellites and sensors. Thus, curriculums and research methods must also quickly adapt just to be able to keep up. But with the Raven Precision Agricultural Center, South Dakota State University is looking to be the place that leads those innovations.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of the South Dakota State University Raven Precision Agriculture Center. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

Orlando World Center Marriott Renovation

A white flag with red "Marriott" letteringComing out of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were eager to leave their homes and go on an adventure for the first time in months. Luckily, Orlando World Center Marriott had them covered. In late 2020, the resort reopened after a major renovation project, the price tag of which totaled well into the millions. Digney York Associates served as the contractor for the project. The renovations included three main upgrades:

Lobby Upgrades

The lobby serves as among the first impressions a guest makes at a hotel. The Orlando World Center Marriott wanted to ensure that’s a good impression. That’s why they added multiple new features with modern designs. In addition to an atrium-style space, the lobby now has an outdoor terrace that features two fire pits and overlooks the main pool. The Lobby Bar has been renovated, updated and now includes a sushi bar, creating another dining choice for guests.

Rooms and Suites

On an ideal vacation, you don’t spend too much time in your room. But Orlando World Center Marriott has taken steps to ensure whatever time you are in there is enjoyable. Many rooms and suites have been fitted with a full-size balcony and two chairs to enjoy some private outdoor space with a great view.

They’ve also been improved with new flooring and a new blue and gray paint scheme. All double beds have been converted to queen-sized while most of the bathtubs have been converted to showers. Basically, everything about the rooms is new, from the 55-inch smart televisions to the bed linens, draperies, furniture and décor.

The Golf Course

The resort’s signature golf course – Hawk’s Landing – has been redesigned as part of the renovation, in part to make room for a separate 60,000 square foot expansion of meeting and function space. The course redesign involved renovating the bunkers with capillary concrete liners and converting the putting greens’ grass to Diamond Zoysia. It also involved fully rebuilding three holes, including the 18th. This final hole is now a par 3, 204-yard island green.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of the Orlando World Center Marriott renovation. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

TQL Stadium Brings MLS to Cincinnati

The Cincinnati skylineCincinnati FC is currently in its second season of playing in the state-of-the-art TQL Stadium. The completion of construction in 2021 was the conclusion of a years-long project to bring Major League Soccer to The Queen City.

The Background

Back in May 2015, an ownership group led by Carl Linder III announced it would be bringing a professional soccer team to Cincinnati. The team would play in the United Soccer League, the second division of American soccer, at Nippert Stadium on the University of Cincinnati campus. The team broke USL attendance records, and the ownership group was subsequently granted an MLS expansion franchise. The squad would continue to play in Nippert Stadium on a temporary basis, but they would eventually need a new home with more modern amenities.

The Construction Process

Ground was broken on the new stadium in December 2018 and foundation work began the following July. Work on the project continued right through the COVID-19 pandemic with the upper bowl being completed in spring 2020. With steel work and the canopy roof finished that summer, the grass, seat and scoreboard installations began that fall.

The exterior work was done by Feb. 2021 after permanent signage was installed. The interior work was completed that spring before the field saw its first match between Cincinnati and Inter Miami FC. Populous, MEIS Architects and Elevar Design Group designed the stadium while Turner Construction served as the general contractor, working alongside Jostin Construction. Machete Group provided oversight on the project.

The Stadium

In all, the club’s new home cost more than $250 million, the vast majority of which was paid for by ownership. The 12.4-acre stadium can hold up to 26,000 spectators and contains 59 luxury suites, the most of any soccer-specific MLS venue. In addition to the suites, there are four club areas that will hold more than 4,000 people combined.

The footprint of the stadium is a massive 518,000 square feet. Every seat is covered by the 360-degree canopy roof. There’s also a 360-degree continuous bowl around the stadium in the style of major European soccer clubs. The stadium boasts the largest videoboard in all of North American soccer.

The amenities in the stadium are also spacious as the concourses are 30 feet wide. There are six entrances and a total of 30 bathrooms located throughout the venue. Fans can stay close to the action as the distance from the closest seats to the touchline are 15 feet on the west side of the stadium and 18.5 feet on all other sides.

The players have been well taken care of too, of course. The home team locker room stretches to 10,350 square feet and includes a lounge, coach’s offices, a warm-up area and an athletic training suite. There are also four other team locker rooms and two referee locker rooms.

The stadium is capable of handling a large media contingent as well with a press box seating capacity of 75. There are three TV booths, four radio booths, six broadcast truck bays, an auxiliary media booth and a 700 square foot control room. Fans, meanwhile, can enjoy a 9,000 square foot, two story team store on the Northeast side of the stadium.

The exterior of the stadium is wrapped by more than 500 vertical aluminum fins, which make up an integrated LED video display system. At night, the club lights this up and the entire side of the stadium displays an impressive show of lights that can feature team-positive messaging. There is also a one-acre East Plaza with a large staircase that faces the historic “Over the Rhine” neighborhood.

The stadium is already being used for purposes beyond just Cincinnati FC matches. It’s hosted two Team USA men’s soccer match and one for the USA women as well. Earlier this year, legendary rock band The Who performed on the field.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of TQL Stadium. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s Two-Floor Expansion

A doctor shows a patient who is laying in bed a chartEmory Johns Creek Hospital recently celebrated the first anniversary of the completion of its major expansion project. Two floors were added to the hospital, allowing it to house more patients while also creating the opportunity for further development in the future.


Emory Johns Creek opened in 2007 as a private-room community hospital in Johns Creek, Georgia. The hospital offers advanced diagnostics and surgery, cardiology, bariatrics, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, vascular medicine and oncology. It’s an academic medical center, part of the Emory College School of Medicine’s network of hospitals.

In late 2019, construction began on the expansion project at a cost $61 million for the eighteen-month construction schedule.

The Finished Product

The expansion, which was led by DPR Construction, allowed for 40 additional beds while adding 70,000 square feet to the existing structure. The new space was built with sustainability in mind, so it features large windows for natural daylight, LED lighting fixtures and low-emitting interior finishes.

The sixth floor holds all 40 of the new medical, surgical and oncology patient rooms and three new nurse’s stations. Meanwhile, the fifth floor will mostly remain shell space for the time being. This means it’s unfinished now but can be completed at a later date in a way that meets the hospital’s needs at that time. TMPartners and Frandsen Architects managed the architectural work on the project.

Additionally, the hospital added a new parking deck with 640 spaces for patients and visitors to park free of charge. The parking deck was designed by Collins Cooper Carusi Architects and built by McCarthy Building Companies.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of the Emory Johns Creek Hospital expansion project. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

Denver International Airport Gate Expansion

The Denver International AirportWhen an area experiences enough growth and increased traffic, there comes a point where its facilities are no longer sufficient, and expansion is necessary. This was the case for the Denver International Airport, which recently completed a project to open 16 new gates in Concourse C-East. This expansion will help ensure the airport is able to accommodate a growing number of passengers.

The Project

The airport added 16 gates to Concourse C-East as part of a $2.3 billion gate expansion program, increasing the size of the concourse by about 30%. The concourse, including the new gates, will now be roughly 1,155 feet long – the equivalent to more than five Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

The 530,000 square foot expansion includes new airline support areas, restrooms, nursing rooms, and 20 passenger waiting areas. There will also be an outdoor patio with a view of the prairie that will feature a pet relief area and outdoor seating around firepits, adding atmosphere as well as space.

The project also created room for eight new storefronts, including Aviano Coffee, Bar Dough, Black Canyon Market and Goods, Cholon Modern Asian, Long Peak Market and Goods, Marczyk Fine Foods, Mister Oso and Teatulia Tea, all of which have either already opened or will do so in 2022. Perhaps most importantly, these gates will make room for millions of new passengers to fly in to and out of Denver International Airport. The gates have all been leased by Southwest Airlines.

Holder Construction and FCI Constructors worked together to complete the project while Jacobs Engineering Group managed architectural and design services. The project was paid for through revenue bonds, not through tax dollars.

The Need for Expansion

Denver International Airport has seen major passenger growth over the past quarter-century or so. In just 27 years, passenger volume grew from 33.1 million passengers to more than 69 million. While the COVID-19 pandemic put a dent in that total over the past two years, DEN has been among the fastest recovering airports.

This increase in passengers is at least partially due to the overall rise in U.S. air traffic, but likely also has to do with the growth of Denver itself. The population of the City of Denver grew more than 53% from 1990 to 2020 and is now more than 715,000. The greater Denver Metro area that the airport serves now has more than 3 million people.

Denver International Airport was originally built to handle a maximum of 50 million passengers annually. Further growth beyond that number would have implied crowded restaurants, long lines, a log jam of flights and more. The goal is to alleviate all of those issues via expansion.

What’s Next?

The Concourse C expansion was part of a larger gate expansion project that has been ongoing since 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. Four new gates were opened in Concourse B-West in November 2020. Currently, a project adding seven new gates in B-East and 12 in Concourse A-West is underway, with a scheduled end date in the fall of 2022.

These projects will feature similar facility upgrades to the ones in the Concourse C Project, including at least one outdoor deck in each concourse. The goal is for these new gates to not only accommodate more domestic traffic, but also more international flights.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in development of the Denver International Airport Concourse C Gate Expansion. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.

Expansion of Choctaw Casino & Resort Complete

Poker chips on a casino tableThe expansion of the Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, OK has been completed, with the unveiling of the project happening this past August.

The unparalleled expansion features a new hotel tower, additional restaurants and lounges, expanded gaming areas and a variety of entertainment options.

In this post, we will discuss the project in detail including its background, facts, new amenities and more.

Project Background

Tutor Perini was the contractor for this expansion and worked with several architects that included JCJ Architecture and the Friedmutter Group to get this project from concept to completion.

The expansion has created 1,000 new jobs and will help fund much-needed services for Choctaw Nation tribal members for education, infrastructure and more.

The project is estimated to create millions of dollars in economic growth that will improve the lives of all Oklahomans.

Project Facts

The final cost for the 1 million square foot project is estimated at $435 million and included the addition of a 1,000-room hotel tower, casino expansion, additional parking, movie theaters, swimming pools, conference facilities, a fitness center, new restaurants and lounges, a world class collection of Choctaw art and a variety of other new amenities.

A One-of-a-Kind Relaxation & Entertainment Experience

As mentioned above the new hotel, Sky Tower Hotel, has 1,000 rooms for guests of the casino and resort and is 21 stories tall. Its rooms feature traditional king and double beds, and there are suites available as well for those who want to stay in complete luxury. Guestrooms feature modern décor, lavish bedding and spa-like amenities.

The expansion gives visitors six new restaurants to choose from, 11 new bars and lounges, more in-room dining options, as well as a Starbucks on property for those who need a kick start to their morning.

Aside from the new accommodations and dining, guests will be able to soak up the sun at the new 18,000-square-foot pool area, Aqua. This pool area sits on three acres and features an adults-only pool, a family pool, 50 poolside cabanas, 750 chaise lounge chairs and four outdoor venues for food and drinks.

And if you’re coming for the gaming, you’re in for a treat. The expansion has given the casino over 3,000 new slot machines, 40 new table games and a poker room with 30 additional tables.

At Construction Protection Systems, we’re proud to have played a small part in the development of the Choctaw Casino & Resort. Stay tuned for more updates from the makers of 1-2-3 Door Shield—the original, reusable door protection system.