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The Upper Sioux Community intends to invest an estimated $14 million to enhance the Prairie's Edge Casino Resort. It would retain its existing theme and décor while undergoing an extensive refurbishing project that also calls for building a new wing to the hotel holding 80 new rooms, adding 15,000 square feet and 200 new slot machines, and expanding the convention center offerings. Image is an artist's concept plan for the improvements. Submitted illustration

Prairie's Edge planning major improvements

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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
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Prairie's Edge planning major improvements
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

UPPER SIOUX COMMUNITY -- Seven years after the Upper Sioux Community opened Prairie's Edge Casino Resort, it's about to make a major investment to enhance the facilities.


The Upper Sioux Community is prepared to invest up to $14 million in a project that will nearly double the number of hotel rooms and add 200 new slot machines. It also calls for adding meeting space for the convention center, creating a new hotel lobby and entrance, and refurbishing and improving the fixtures in the existing restaurant, gaming, hotel and convention areas. A new deli and sandwich bar will also be developed.

The project is all about enhancing the amenities offered to guests, according to Kevin Jensvold, tribal chairman of the Upper Sioux Community.

He said an estimated $7.5 million of the total will be invested in new construction. It includes the addition of an 80-room wing to the existing hotel. Another 15,000 square feet of space will be developed to enlarge the gaming area. New meeting rooms will allow the convention center to offer more opportunities.

The hotel expansion is designed to meet lodging trends at the facility. The existing 89 hotel rooms and suites are fully occupied on weekends, and enjoy a good overall occupancy rate, Jensvold said.

The chairman said moving forward on the entire project will depend on receiving construction bids that meet budget projections. He is hopeful that a competitive construction market will make this a good time to go forward with the project.

If things go as hoped, work could get under way this spring with expectations that all but the hotel construction would be completed this autumn. The new hotel rooms would be ready for occupancy next March.

The Upper Sioux Community has awarded the design work to Dan Miller Architects of St. Cloud.

The community has also arranged for financing. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Community is providing $9 million in financing and a $1 million grant to the Upper Sioux Community. The two communities have a long-standing relationship.

The improvement is seen as being in the best interests of the 479 members of the Upper Sioux Community and hopefully, the region as well, Jensvold said. He pointed out that the development is expected to create 30 to 40 new jobs at Prairie's Edge Casino Resort.

The gaming and lodging operation is one of the region's largest employers with 360 employees.

Jensvold said Prairie's Edge Casino Resort serves guests from a primary market area extending 70 to 80 miles. He said that it is very important in the gaming and lodging industry today to continue to improve the amenities offered guests.

He said guests will find an enhanced, yet familiar experience at Prairie's Edge Casino. The remodeling work will continue the comfortable décor and ambience -- as well as theme -- of the existing Prairie's Edge Casino Resort, he explained.

Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335