A ghost from Silver Slipper's past stalls hotel project

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An unexpected discovery at the site where Silver Slipper Casino is building a new hotel will add to the cost of the $18 million hotel, and slightly delay the construction project.

Construction workers digging holes for hotel pilings struck some thick, underground, concrete slabs.

"The biggest chunk was actually 40 foot square and six feet deep. So everybody has a different theory on how it got there and what they were used for. One thing for sure, we know it happened sometime in the 1950s or earlier," said John Ferrucci, Sliver Slipper Casino General Manager.

Bringing in the heavy equipment to break up the concrete and haul it away is a time consuming and costly process.

"There is a 12 ton breaker we bought in, and it's basically working. It crushes through layer and layer of the large chunk of concrete. There is quite a bit of rebar," said Project Superintendent Otis Hines.

Ferrucci added, "It's a change order, and our CEO doesn't do change orders. But we had to talk him into this one because it was necessary. It was money well spent to hold up a good project," said the GM with a smile.

The plan is to start driving the pilings for the hotel Monday. Work crews will chip away at the concrete through out the weekend if necessary.

Casino leaders say the good news is the old concrete will be given new life.

"A lot of the concrete is going to be re-used for oyster beds throughout the area here," explained Hines.

The 142 room hotel is scheduled to open to casino guests in December.

"We're not looking at it as a set-back. It's just one of those things you have to do during the course of the project," Ferrucci said. "Hopefully, this is the last one. But if there is another, we'll deal with that when it comes."

Construction leaders say the concrete problem should only set the project back by about a week.

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