Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Resort, an enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians is located within a three-hour drive of Atlanta. It is an enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. As part of the 150,000 square feet of gaming space, there are over 3,000 slot machines, over 160 table games, a 32-table poker room, and a sportsbook featuring private fan caves and a 90-foot sportsbook screen.
Besides gaming, the newly expanded Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Resort includes 4 luxury hotel towers and over 121,000 square feet of conference and event space. The hotel towers feature covered parking garages, an arcade, indoor and outdoor pools, and outdoor cabanas and workout rooms. The 3,000-seat event center showcases some of the top live entertainment acts in the country. The property’s 10 restaurants include a local microbrewery, a steak house, and multiple dining experiences from celebrity chefs.
Since the various upgrades and remodels were all part of a phased master plan expansion, surveillance needed to be designed and implemented in phases as well. First, a total update of the surveillance video management system, which included doubling the amount of recording channels was required. The replacement of existing gaming cameras came next, followed by the installation of additional cameras to accommodate doubling the size of the gaming floor. Once the head-end system and gaming cameras were in place, the surveillance system would need to be expanded to accommodate the remodeling of existing spaces and restaurants, construction of a 2,000-space parking garage, a 725 room hotel tower, an 83,000 square foot convention center, and a 32,000 square foot ballroom.
The complexity of the installation involved over 20 different construction phases of the project. The phased approach required the closing of various sections of the property for a time and close coordination with various contractors to install new systems in order to keep up with the construction schedule and meet turnover deadlines — all while maintaining a live operating and gaming environment for the property’s guests. The scheduling of the installation was equally important, as multiple contractors would be working in unison to ensure minimal downtime of the casino’s existing facilities.
Other considerations for the project included transitioning the legacy video management system (VMS) to an enterprise level VMS. Due to the large size of the property, they had a need for a head-end system that would require less power and have a more compact footprint, provide integration of the video surveillance and access control systems for a more streamlined workflow, and allow for the scalability needed to accommodate all future growth.
To add to the complexity of these projects and their schedules, NAV had to navigate some of the remodeling and new construction under the constraints that came with the global COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting supply chain disruptions.
NAV was involved from the project’s inception, a significant factor in its overall success. A design-build approach was used to create the system in cooperation with the operations, architectural, and interior design teams.
To minimize the impact of the expansion on ongoing operations of the property, NAV coordinated with property management, the tribal gaming commission, the main construction personnel, and subcontractors. Coordination of the various phases to ensure the project was completed on time required detailed project management, one of NAV’s critical functions as the installing integrator.
Upon completion of the enormous project, NAV was able to transition the property to a new enterprise level Dallmeier SeMSy 5 Hemishpere video management system, implement a new access control system, and install and configure more than 3,000 new Dallmeier high megapixel IP cameras to bring the total system channel count to over 6,000. The upgrades were done alongside remodels of the various spaces and turnover of new construction areas. NAV was able to complete these projects within all scheduling constraints and with zero down time, while navigating the ever-changing constraints that came with the global pandemic.