By Geoff Redick

The last bit of steel is in place for Rivers Casino in Schenectady. The city and gaming company hosted a “topping off” ceremony Monday at the construction site. TWC News’ Geoff Redick reports.

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — An exclusive tour inside Schenectady’s much-anticipated casino project on Monday revealed one certain truth: the 160,000 square-foot building is mammoth.

Officials with LeChase Construction permitted Time Warner Cable News inside the construction zone, on the same day that work crews lifted the final steel beam into place over what will be a full-fledged gaming facility come 2017.

“Today is a key milestone,” said Neil Schiavi, LeChase’s vice-president. “At this point, we start moving toward to exterior finishes, and then the interior finishes.”

There are at least nine more months of work to come in the finishing process, but the project is already making good time thanks to an unseasonably warm winter. Monday’s “topping off” represented the last of 1,200 tons of steel beams installed. According to LeChase Construction, 5,900 yards of concrete foundations are in the ground.

The next step will be putting up exterior facades. Inside the structure, high-capacity electrical conduit is being sunken below the foundation level, and plumbing lines have been partially installed.

Work is progressing on other fronts, too.

“We are inundated with with résumés and applications,” said Mary Cheeks, the general manager for the future casino. Cheeks said all of Rivers’ jobs were posted online three weeks ago, and several thousand applications have already been submitted. The application period is still open at riverscasinoandresort.com.

“Our team is going to start going through them, and establishing training programs,” said Cheeks. “Within the next 60 days, it’ll be taking off really quickly.”

An 850-space parking garage is being built next to the casino. The garage foundations are about 50 percent completed, according to Schiavi. A hotel is being built along the Mohawk River shoreline, but crews have not yet begun driving pylons into the ground. Across the giant lot off Erie Boulevard, work is progressing on the Mohawk Harbor project by the Galesi Group. A high-rise apartment could be seen in progress Monday, with a Marriott hotel much closer to completion close by.

Rush Street Gaming says Rivers Casino is on track to open in the first quarter of 2017, as planned.