The San Carlos Apache Nation hopes to open its Apache Sky Casino located near Dudleyville on a 170-acre site on the southern end of its reservation in Arizona by mid-January 2017 at the latest.

While some of the construction has been delayed by late summer monsoon storms, the tribe anticipates that its ongoing casino project located within the Copper Corridor will be ready to open in the temporary building on its reservation early in the coming year. The Copper Area News reported that Interim COO for Apache Gold Casino Kurt Schmidt said, “We are hoping for a mid-December opening.”

The tribe broke ground on the first phase of its second casino late in February this year. A permanent complex will eventually be built resembling the tribe’s existing casino, the Apache Gold Casino Resort in San Carlos. The first phase of construction will include the building of the majority of the infrastructure, which will allow the permanent structures to be built as the casino becomes more popular.

Early in 2014 when plans for a new casino were first announced, the first phase of the project was projected to be completed by April 2015. The construction delay was partly due to a parcel of state land that had to be acquired to build a public roadway to allow access to the casino’s site. The other reason being the location of the new casino was close to the site of an 1871 massacre of numerous Aravaipa Apache members and was condemned by tribal members as well as former tribe historian, Dale Miles. However, Lee Randall, chairman of the Apache Gold Casino’s board of directors, said that a feasibility study performed a few years ago revealed the casino’s site had no “historical viability” or “cultural significance” for the tribe, according to Inside Tucson Business. Randall said that before ground was broken the site was blessed by tribal spiritual leaders.

It is anticipated by the tribe that the new casino will employ approximately 200 people. A hotel and RV Park are included in its long-term plan for the facility. The temporary structures will house approximately 15,000 square feet of casino gaming, a full-service bar, as well as a food court, according to the news agency. At the time of the ground breaking, Randall said that no date has been set for the completion of the entire project.