The Tigua Tribe has drained its 60,000 square foot pool and is now pouring $3 million into the space to turn it into a state-of-the art concert and entertainment hall.

The El Paso Times reports that the Socorro Entertainment Center is set to be finished by the end of April. It’s a new venture for the Tiguas, which had its casino gambling license revoked by the state of Texas in 2002.

Gaming machines and other equiptment sit on concrete on what was the Olympic-sized pool at the Tigua Recreation Center in Socorro. The tribe is converting the pool into a $3 million entertainment center with a concert venue, gaming room and five-star restaurant. (Photo by Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

    The controversial move was a huge financial blow to the 1,700-member tribe, officially known as the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. The former Speaking Rock Casino generated $60 million a year before the legal action.

    One way the tribe responded was by turning the casino at 122 S. Old Pueblo, near the Ysleta Mission, into the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center, and converting its cash-dispensing slot machines into “sweepstakes” vending machines that pay winners in credits redeemable for prizes.

. . .

    Now they’re upping the ante. The Socorro Entertainment Center will replace Speaking Rock as a concert venue, though the former casino will continue to host smaller shows. “We want it to be a revenue-generating venue to help pay for itself,” Maahs said of the new arena.

    The swimming pool was not. Maahs said it was largely unused 300 days of the year and costs about $40,000 a month to operate.
    “We’re taking a building that was designed for swim meets with maybe 500 people at most, and usually it wasn’t close to that, and turning it into a venue designed for 10,000,” Maahs said.

Upcoming concerts at the new venue include performances by Godsmack, Puddle of Mud and Travis Tritt.

Jenna Cederberg

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