We performed an extensive renovation of the main office of Polish National Credit Union that included both interior and exterior work, and finished a month earlier than was originally projected. Work included the removal of a large central staircase that connected the three floors of the building together and posed something of a security issue. There was also a disconnection between one of the entrances and the reception desk, as they were located in different areas of the branch.
We initially planned to keep the branch open for the duration of the project, but this proved impossible, as were doing considerable work on the main entrance as well as demolishing a staircase that spanned three stories at the core of the building. The rest of the branch was still occupied so we had to work around the executives, coordinate the bringing in on structural steel and concrete, as well as perform welding work across the three floors.
The project consisted of the main floor (the branch itself), paint and carpet in the hallway loop, and more paint and carpet in an enclosed training area in the basement. We also finished the newly added area on the second floor where the stairway used to be, which saw the client gain some additional square footage.
This was quite a tired-looking branch. For consistency, the credit union wanted the finishes in this branch to be similar to those at their recently renovated Front Street location, with some tweaks to color, laminates, etc. Our designers presented some alternate suggestions to help brighten the appearance of the branch while keeping the Polish National standard color palette. The millwork around the branch is virtually identical to that at Front Street, while some of the upholstery fabrics were changed. The DIRTT frames for the glass office walls were anodized aluminum while at Front Street they are black.
Demolishing, removing and rebuilding the area where the staircase was presented a considerable challenge. We had to remove the staircase, and then cut back the concrete block at floor level to expose the existing steel. We then tied in the new steel for the floor by welding and fastening it with bolts. We installed steel decking on top of this, and concrete was pumped into the spaces between floors. The building now looks radically different from how it did previously. The branch now feels more intimate and warmer than before, with comfortable seating and a transparent view into surrounding offices.
The client wanted to utilize a better footprint and make the general appearance and atmosphere of the branch much fresher. Initially the idea was to move towards a pod concept, but upon considering that their existing membership is primarily composed of seniors, it was decided that a teller line would be better received. We incorporated a “pseudo-pod” into the teller line design, with gates at either end that can be removed easily, so if there’s a shift in the demographics of their membership it will be easier to transition to this pseudo-pod environment.
We changed the main entrance to the building, building an angled canopy (for better visibility) with a large sign standing on top of the canopy. We also added some architectural features to the other entrance to give the credit union a better presence at that location. It is now much more noticeable, as the previous signage was much less prominent.
All the lighting in the building was replaced with high-efficiency lighting so the client was eligible for a state rebate program. The HVAC was also upgraded.
A drive-up ATM and night deposit were added to the branch. We added some branding to the area around the entrance ATM in the branch lobby, including a graphic wall showing a historic mill building from the Chicopee area. There is now a trophy case immediately facing the entrance as you walk into the branch which contains all the various community awards the organization has won over the years.
The client is delighted with the way the transformed looks and feels, and we’re proud to have contributed to the exciting new phase the Polish National Credit Union is now entering.