Angel of the Winds Casino

A 22,200 square foot casino for the Stillaguamish Tribe in Arlington, Washington.

Stearns’ unique design-build system and participation starting with the early planning stages of the project enabled them to develop a cost-effective structural design, procure and construct the steel structure, and ensure that the fast-track project was completed on time and on budget.  Stearns’ strong supplier relationships allowed them to lock-in material costs during a period of significant steel price increases, thereby further reducing the tribe’s budgetary risk.

Acknowledging Stearns’ contributions, Mark Peterson, Project Manager for General Contractor J.E. Dunn stated,

“Stearns was chosen for past performances, quality work, product, and their personnel. They were very helpful in the design process to make structural revisions to meet our construction/program requirements. Stearns being a single source for design, fabrication, and erection simplified my job of administration and coordination.”

An 84,000 sq. ft. addition to the existing casino, completed in 2007, was the realization of an extended goal for the Stillaguamish Tribe. For generations, the Stillaguamish have struggled for economic self-sufficiency while still preserving community values. The expansion will help the entire community by generating hundreds of new jobs and introducing tens of millions of dollars into the local economy. Additionally, the Stillaguamish Tribe will increase the amount of charitable contributions to local nonprofits and governmental agencies. Tripling the casino’s current size, the expansion includes a private poker room with eight tables, a dedicated Keno area, gift shop, restaurant, bar, and entertainment stage. Designed by ICI Design Group, the interior features a rustic lodge feeling. The warm environment is intended to make guests feel welcome and comfortable, further promoting its commitment to being the “World’s Friendliest Casino.”

At the recommendation of JE Dunn Construction Company, Stearns partnered with Clark Engineering Corp to assist with design development, detail fabrication and construction drawings, and to provide and install all structural steel components. Because of the sloping site and partial basement, crane access to the building plan was limited. Deliveries of the various components had to be perfectly coordinated to minimize excess material movement on-site and to keep to an aggressive schedule. With just 12 weeks from award date to finish, Stearns’ construction team erected the primary steel frame in just 3 weeks.

Acknowledging Stearns contributions to the project, Mark Peterson, Project Manager for General Contractor JE Dunn, stated:

“Without Stearns' early participation and commitment to our aggressive schedule, we never would have met our milestone dates. We appreciate that Stearns comes in and gets their work done without a lot of effort on our part, and when problems arise, they are proactive in finding solutions that work for everyone.”

An interesting feature to the structure is the use of a special cellular deck. The cellular deck had enclosed flutes that were used as conduits for various electrical systems required by the casino. To ensure proper access for planned and future needs, the cellular deck had to be closely coordinated with the gaming floor equipment and control room layouts. The deck also served as the necessary structural element for the main building.


Project Details

Client: Stillaguamish Indian Tribe

Location: Arlington, Washington

Contractor: JE Dunn Construction Co.

Architect: ICI Design Group

Engineer-of-Record: DCI Engineers & Clark Engineering

Size: 106,000 square feet

Number of Levels: 2

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2004 & 2007



Bear River Casino

A 31,500 sq.ft. pre-engineered metal building on concrete slab on grade. The exterior walls are wood siding with a metal roof and a fabric porte cochere. Having partnered with the project team on previous casino projects, Stearns provided design assistance of the metal building, including the framework, secondary framing, roof, and exterior walls. Stearns determined that the use of pre-engineered steel components would allow for quick installation of the building and roof. Stearns was able to draw on their pool of proven, reliable resources to ensure the project would move to a predictably swift conclusion. The use of the pre-engineered structure and components proved to be a cost effective choice for the owner.


Project Details

Client: Bear River Band and Rohnerville Rancheria Tribe

Location: Loleta, California

Contractor: JE Dunn Construction Company

Architect: Group West

Engineer-of-Record: DCI Engineers

Size: 31,500 square feet

Number of Levels: 2

System Type: Structural Steel, Pre-Engineered Metal Building

Completion Date: 2004



Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

From the mosaic-tile basket patterns on tall columns rising to the second floor of the rotunda, the new Nixyaawii Governance Center embraces symbols of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation’s culture and tradition. The entrance faces the east where the sun rises and includes north, south, and west wings. This 90,000 sq.ft. uniquely designed headquarters incorporates long-term sustainability concepts that lend permanence to the structure.

Stearns was brought on board to assist the engineer-of-record with structural steel design, recommend the most efficient and economical structural steel system, furnish materials, and provide a critical path schedule. Much care was given to the design of the project in order to incorporate the significance of the building design and placement and the Tribe’s traditional symbols. The structural system features buckling restrained braces which are a specialty steel item that resist seismic loads and perform better than standard steel sections.

This state-of-the-art structure located in Pendleton, Oregon combines a myriad of angles and curves, shapes, and symbols. The ceiling of the rotunda is blue like the sky and surrounded by a dozen windows that represent 12 moons. The artwork inside is reflective of the tribal culture. This museum-like structure is an impressive experience.


Project Details

Client: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Location: Pendleton, Oregon

Contractor: JE Dunn Construction Co.

Architect: Group West Architects, Inc.

Engineer-of-Record: Cascade Design Professionals

Size: 90,000 square feet

Number of Levels: 3

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2008



2010 Top Projects, Private Buildings, $15M - $50M, by DJC Magazine.


Emerald Queen Casino

Stearns was involved in both the original construction and expansion of this 74,000 sq.ft., 2-story, steel-framed casino expansion, as well as the addition of two new parking structures offering more than 2,000 parking stalls.

Stearns was brought on board to assist with design development, detail drawings for fabrication and construction, provide the most economical structural steel system, and manage and execute an aggressive steel construction schedule. Close coordination was achieved with casino operations to allow the expansion to proceed with minimal impact to the casino.

Project Details

Client: Emerald Queen Casino

Location: Fife, Washington

Contractor: Aecon Buildings

Architect: Merritt Architects

Engineer-of-Record: AHBL Engineering

Size: 74,000 square feet

Number of Levels: 2

Number of Stalls: 2,000

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2008



Lucky Eagle Casino

This uniquely designed casino consists of a 20,000 square-foot addition and a new 3-level, 27,000 square-foot administrative office building. Stearns managed the complete steel package and an aggressive steel construction schedule.  Concrete tilt-up wall panels provided the perimeter enclosure of both buildings and were placed prior to steel installation. 

Stearns worked with the construction team to modify the panels to allow for crane access inside the walls in order to erect the structural steel framing.  The 3-level administration building was erected from the roof down. This unique process contributed to early occupancy and eliminated challenges.

Project Details

Client: Confederated Tribes of Chehalis

Location: Rochester, Washington

Contractor: Aecon Buildings

Architect: Ambia Architects

Engineer-of-Record: DCI Engineers

Size: 20,000 sq.ft. casino, 27,000 sq,ft. administrative office

Number of Levels: Administrative Office is 3 levels

System Type: PEMB, Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2008



Lucky Eagle Casino, Texas

The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino is the only operating casino in Texas. The casino is undergoing an expansion that is part of a $90 million improvement project at the reservation.

Stearns was brought on board to provide design assistance for the structural steel elements, procurement, fabrication, and a fast-track schedule to bring this state-of-the-art facility to successful completion on time and within budget.


Project Details

Client: Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino

Location: Eagle Pass, Texas

Contractor: Skanska USA, Yates

Architect: JCJ Architecture, Kirksey Architecture

Engineer-of-Record: Chavez-Grieves, Haynes-Whaley Associates

Size: 90,000 square feet

Number of Levels: 1

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2012



Red Wind Casino

Stearns' innovative thinking and professional teams of engineers, designers, and project managers helped develop and implement a cost-effective structural design and an efficient, uninterrupted construction schedule, bringing this casino to completion on time and within budget.

Throughout the process, the design team worked closely with the Tribe to ensure the integration of their history into the new facility. Elements such as salmon, water, wood, the camas flower and tribal symbolism kept the casino tied to the tribal landscape and culture.

Project Details

Client: Nisqually Tribe

Location: Olympia, Washington

Contractor: Aecon Buildings

Architect: ICI Design

Engineer-of-Record: Clark Engineering

Size: 98,000 square feet

Number of Levels: 1

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2004



Silver Reef Casino

Stearns was involved in both the original construction of Silver Reef Casino, as well as this 100,000 sq. ft. addition.

Stearns was brought on board early by Aecon Buildings, Inc., to assist MBA Architecture and Culp & Tanner with design development and to procure and detail the structural steel, steel joists and girders, metal roof deck, and miscellaneous steel. Stearns was a leader in the design process and provided solution strategies that were instrumental in developing a cost-effective structural design. This allowed the project to move forward in order to meet the owner’s schedule expectations.

R.F. Stearns' project manager, explained, “We worked in close collaboration with Aecon Buildings and the construction team to provide the structural steel frame elements as well as the exterior porte-cochere and promenade accents. Our collective team efforts resulted in meeting the owner’s design and scheduling needs for fast occupancy for the patrons of the casino.”

Stearns' ability to provide complete integrated services and accelerated scheduling capabilities helped to reduce both budgetary risk and shortened the construction schedule.

Project Details

Client: Silver Reef Casino Hotel

Location: Ferndale, Washington

Contractor: Aecon Buildings, Inc.

Architect: MBA Architecture & Interior Design

Engineer-of-Record: Culp & Tanner

Size: 100,000 square feet

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2012



Three Rivers Casino

This 100,000 square-foot casino for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians, located in the picturesque coastal sand dunes in Florence, Oregon, replaced a tent structure, quadrupled the gaming floor plan, and provided state-of-the-art recreation and amenities.

At the recommendation of JE Dunn Construction Company, Stearns was awarded the project to assist the Engineer-of-Record and design and construction teams by managing all aspects of the structural steel process, from providing detailing services and drawings for fabrication and construction, to procuring all structural steel materials and administering an aggressive steel construction schedule. One of the unique challenges of the project was the use of heavy equipment to erect the structural steel on a field of fine blown sand. Stearns devised a series of portable stabilizing mats made from heavy, recycled conveyer belts on which forklifts, cranes, and man-lifts traveled to avoid immobilization. This creative solution allowed Stearns’ construction team to assemble the structural steel frame in only 6 weeks.

Butch Fiedler, Project Manager, JE Dunn Construction Company stated: “R.F. Stearns did an exceptional job under very tight time constraints on the Three Rivers Casino project. Their team was always available to step in and lend a helping hand no matter what the predicament may have been. I really enjoyed working with Stearns.”

Another significant aspect of the project is the wood-clad porte cochere at the casino entrance. It was designed with apex moment frame beam roofs at each end and an awning-style canopy between them that followed 45 degree splay walls. The porte cochere required close coordination of miscellaneous custom plates for attaching wooden faux beams to the main steel structure, creating the illusion of hips and valleys within the wooden roof. In the special events area, two 90-foot trusses made from tube and wide flange were shipped in halves to facilitate logistics and spliced together at installation. In the gaming area, long steel joists were field spliced to create huge open spaces.

The entire construction team worked in close collaboration to successfully complete the steel-framed casino structure on time and within budget.

Project Details

Client: Three Rivers Casino

Location: Florence Or

Contractor: JE Dunn Construction

Architect: Morris & Brown Architects

Engineer-of-Record: John A. Martin & Associates

Size: 100,000 square feet

Number of Levels: 2

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2006


Ranked #1 Hospitality project for 2008 by Northwest Construction Magazine


Twin Pines Casino

This 51,500 sq.ft., steel-framed casino expansion is the result of a momentous alliance between the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians and the Mohegan Tribe. Stearns was brought on board to provide full-service customized steel solutions and total collaboration while managing a fast-track schedule. The remote area presented logistical and delivery challenges, but due to Stearns' management, an intense 4-week steel construction schedule was achieved.


Project Details

Client: Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians and the Mohegan Tribe

Location: Middletown, CA

Contractor: JE Dunn Construction Co.

Architects: Group West Architects

Engineer-of-Record: KPFF Consulting Engineers

Size: 51,500 square feet

Number of Levels: 2

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2007