On December 27th, the Ute Mountain Casino and hotel located in Towaoc unveiled the first exterior upgrade to the facility since opening. The remodel cost $5.5 million, with the work revealed during an evening that included a blessing and lighting ceremony. The casino first opened in 1992 with the hotel to follow years later in 2004.

Gary Hayes is the Apprentice General Manager for the casino who stated that with more than 2 million vehicles passing by the venue each year, the casino needed to do everything they can to stay competitive and attract visitors to the resort. One of the most noticeable improvements to the property is the new surround LED lighting and signage. The porte cohere was redesigned as well as the main casino entrance. The buildings of the resort now have an earthen color scheme and are highlighted by Ute pottery designs as well as having a prominent tribal seal.

DeAnne Wall is a member of the tribal council who commented on the new changes by stating that a real sense of pride is given to the tribal community, the state and employees. Wall commented: “We are striving together for prosperity and have a vision for our people”.

The project has been financed via loans that were issued out of a Ute Mountain Ute fund that was earmarked for economic development. The fund was first established from a settlement involving water rights on the Dolores River.

To remodel the exterior, the casino decided to hire iFive Design. It took four months for the remodel to be completed and the upgrade is the latest of a series of phased upgrades. According to Hayes, the casino is investing in the future.

Back in April, a larger video marquee was installed, costing $1 million. The Kuchu restaurant was remodeled as well as new games placed on the gaming floor. The next stage of the plans includes the top floor guest rooms of the hotel being remodeled which should cost around $1.5 million.