River Spirit Casino Resort estimates it will be closed through June, the business announced Wednesday.
“There are too many unknowns until the water recedes so that we may assess the property and prioritize the most immediate issues to address in order to expedite reopening,” Chief Executive Pat Crofts said in a news release.
“Based on today’s projection by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we are hopeful the water release will be reduced to a manageable level.”
The city announced Wednesday that the Corps began to reduce outflows from the Keystone Dam on Wednesday afternoon. The water release was 275,000 cubic feet per second and could be reduced to 100,000 cfs early next week, officials said.
Crofts said a total assessment of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation property could be made next week. A key issue facing the resort is its power supply.
“Really, the primary focus is accessing, and then drying out, the underground vaults containing the utilities for the property,” Crofts said. “Additionally, we have to clean and prepare any asphalt damage to the parking lots for the safety of our guests and employees.”
River Spirit has been closed since May 22. The resort has 1,600 employees, and they will be paid during the closure, Crofts said.
The resort’s pool deck and associated areas have been inundated by the river. The 27-story hotel, restaurants and gaming areas remain unaffected by the water, Crofts said. Those areas are 13 feet above the pool deck.
Crofts said questions and false rumors have circulated on social media about the building’s structure.
“River Spirit and all of our facilities are structurally sound,” Crofts said. “The design and engineering of River Spirit was built to withstand a 100-year-flood and any severe weather-related event.
“Time and again we are having to address questions and rumors being perpetuated regarding the integrity of the resort. People tend to forget that beyond the layer of sandy soil is bedrock and we are anchored to it.”
The resort’s hotel tower and expanded gaming and restaurants were built with “675 heavily reinforced concrete piers, eight feet in diameter that are 80 to 87 feet below the ground and socketed to the bedrock,” according to a news release from the resort. “Additionally, the resort complex is further protected from land erosion due to the one-inch thick, solid steel sheet piling surrounding the river side of the property from the hotel tower to the theater. The sheet piling begins at the elevation level of 614 and protects the land all the way to the bedrock elevation level of 588.”