During the lunch rush Thursday at Casino Fandango, Vince and Marie Hayhurst searched for a spot to park their Chevy Impala in the nearly full lot. They found one at the back of the building.
With the opening of the new $4 million three-story parking garage Thursday, the Carson City couple will search no more - or at least not as long.
"They have a lot of handicapped parking in it," said Vince Hayhurst, who has a pelvis injury.
"And it's close and convenient," said his wife, who is a Forest Service employee.
The new 600-space parking garage is located on the south side of the casino, directly across from an entrance. The Hayhursts frequent the South Carson Street casino nearly every day for lunch, dinner or blackjack tournaments, which they often place in.
The parking garage will also serve Casino Fandango's planned hotel, which may have up to 15 stories and more than 100 rooms. A casino official says the plans aren't finalized yet, but if the hotel has more than 150 rooms that would make it the tallest building in Carson City. The hotel will be built between Curry Street and the west side of the casino.
Casino General Manager Steve Forester said he doesn't plan to add floors to the parking garage. The structure is outfitted with 17 security surveillance cameras and loud speakers on its top floor.
"The weather was a challenge. That put us back a few days," he said after the 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"We are finalizing plans for the hotel and the other 31 acres. We should have announcements about that in early 2006."
Richard Lopez, who has worked for the casino for a year and a half, said the new parking garage will be a benefit for customers, especially when it rains. Employees park in a lot at the top of the hill off Curry Street and are transported by a shuttle to the entrance, he said.
The principal contractor for the parking garage was Wilmac Construction. The project manager was Finska Contractors of Reno. Subcontractors included: Dryco Inc., of Reno; Northern Nevada Rebar, of Reno; American Ready-Mix, of Carson City; J. Geditz Construction, of Reno; Sparks Electrics, of Sparks; and Eagle Precast of Salt Lake City.
-- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.