Casino Magic Biloxi is getting busy with the challenge of rebuilding. And that resort is letting its workers have a hand in the actual construction.
Former dealers and VIP hostesses are now wearing hard hats and steel toed boots.
Casino Magic took a significant hit from the hurricane. Rebuilding the resort may take a couple of years. Manhattan Construction will handle the rebuilding, with "hands on" help from some special workers who have a significant stake in the outcome.
Thursday was graduation day for a class of Casino Magic employees. The 30 hour class they just finished wasn't gaming management. It was more like "Casino Construction 101." The former dealers and slot techs and hostesses are about to be hired by the contractor that's rebuilding the Magic.
"I was a VIP guest service rep at Casino Magic. Now we're going out in construction work. We're going out and learn what we don't know about how to build this casino," said Mary Glazier.
The first class of graduates is already on the job. Before rebuilding comes the clean out.
"We're making progress by the day really. Four dumpsters a day," said Carl Weber.
Construction work is quite a change from dealing blackjack. But Weber says putting a stake in his employer of ten years is a smart bet.
"I decided I just wanted to go ahead and be a part of rebuilding it. Working with the guys from Manhattan Construction has been a pleasure. They're a great bunch of guys. They give us a job to do and we go in and do it," he explained.
The rebuilding project is at least a two year assignment. The newest graduating class goes to work Monday morning.
"A once in a lifetime thing. Because they're rebuilding the coast and we get to be a part of that," said construction class graduate, Jack Hughes.
The employees consider Casino Magic their extended family. They're anxious to host a family reunion when the rebuilding and restoration are finished.
Casino Magic general manager, Terry Schneider, says the hotel is structurally sound, but it will need to be "shored up" on the southside where the water damage was most severe. The casino does plan to move its casino onshore, but Schneider could not yet give us specifics about where it will be located.