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Contractors thankful for WMS Gaming job

Rob Sabo

Construction of the 50,000-square-foot, two-story building for WMS Gaming in South Meadows comes as a blessing for many hard-pressed construction companies in the Truckee Meadows.

The job is one of the few large commercial projects under construction in the region.

General contractor United Construction designed the facility and broke ground in December. The job is expected to employ tradesmen from 35 fields through its completion in August, says Craig Willcut, United’s president and chief executive officer.

“It has a great impact on not only our employees but our subcontractors as well,” Willcut says. “Right now any job is exciting to be building our current market is the worst anyone has ever seen it.”

United had significantly scaled back its workforce as its volume of work dried up, but the company rehired some employees for the project, Willcut says.

Subcontractors include Tedesco Pacific Construction (concrete), Jensen Electric Co., Vortex Steel, RHP Mechanical Systems (plumbing, HVAC), and Panelized Structures Inc. (roofing).

Jensen Electric President James Andrews says landing the job significantly boosted workforce morale since employees know they will be drawing consistent paychecks.

“It has provided some stability and optimism for members of this company that we haven’t had in a long time,” Andrews says. “You can definitely tell the morale is better knowing they will be there next week and next month.”

Jensen, down about a third of its workforce from 18 months ago, expects to employ about eight electricians through the fall on the WMS facility.

Vortex Steel General Manager Derek Eshelman says the company has hired three men to work on fabrication in the shop and will hire an additional three or four workers once installation begins. The job also has kept several draftsmen and project managers working.

“The few employees we have, it keeps them busy and creates a billable product instead of just coming out of savings,” Eshelman says. “It is not a major project, but it keeps a few guys busy and give us something to bill toward. It keeps guys on the payroll.”

Mike Scolari, secretary/treasurer of RHP, says the mechanical systems installer will employ about 12 people during April and May, and the job is significant to the company because it’s one of the only local jobs coming out of the ground during the spring months.

The facility will shoot for Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Energy-saving features include:

* Photovoltaic solar panels that will account for 6 percent of the annual electrical load

* Use of daylighting and lighting controls

* High-efficiency plumbing fixtures to reduce water consumption

* High-efficiency mechanical equipment.

* Low-emission interior treatments, such as the glues used for carpeting.