Community First Credit Union Breaks Ground on Eye-Catching GS&P-Designed Bartram Branch

Prototype Building Supports Company’s New Look, Helps Grow Regional Presence

June 07, 2013   |   Jacksonville, Fla.     |   Projects

Gresham, Smith and Partners, a leading multi-disciplinary design and consulting firm for the built environment, was pleased to participate in the recent groundbreaking for the new Bartram branch of Community First Credit Union in Jacksonville, Fla. GS&P’s design introduces a new aesthetic for the credit union and will serve as a prototype for future branches that are part of Community First’s expansion and development plan in Northeast Florida. Its striking architecture and interior design aims to increase the company’s presence and recognizability throughout the region while also incorporating new branding efforts.

“GS&P’s welcoming, customer-friendly designs for the Bartram branch are an excellent representation of our marketing goals and planned growth,” said Community First President and CEO John Hirabayashi. “As we move into the future, we are confident in the value we provide our members and look forward to continued expansion. We’re also pleased with how the design supports our advancing technology, which we believe truly sets us apart from competing credit unions. Our new building’s striking architecture will be an attention-grabber for passersby,  helping us to grow our member base, and the warm, rich interior will foster the sense of member service, quality and community we are known for.”

“We designed Community First’s St. Augustine branch several years ago, so we already had an understanding of their principles and long-term goals,” commented Leith A. Oatman, RID, LEED AP, principal at Gresham, Smith and Partners. “For the Bartram branch, we have enjoyed working with the company’s marketing group to ensure that their new branding is well-represented in the designs. Our talented team has created an eye-catching building that will establish a strong regional presence for Community First and serve as a solid model for their future locations.”

The new Bartram branch is designed for LEED certification. Its sustainable elements include 100%-recycled polished ground face block on the building’s façade and solar tubes in lieu of traditional lighting fixtures. Local companies will supply sheetrock and interior finishes. The branch’s exterior features a raised 27-foot tower to attract attention from drivers on St. Augustine Road. The aluminum canopy above the building’s entrance is shaped like the company’s signature wave logo, and the drive-thru canopy’s LED lighting and exposed pneumatic banking tubes glow at night. The interior includes innovative new dialogue towers in place of a traditional teller line. Luxury vinyl-tile wood and a warm palette provide a comfortable setting for customers, while a striking blue-resin wall and TV in the lobby create an ideal waiting area.

GS&P’s Corporate and Urban Design expertise has been honed with more than 25 years of project experience and continues to be a cornerstone service. The firm’s Jacksonville staff won an Award of Excellence – the highest-level award – from AIA Jacksonville for their Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University design. In early 2013, the Jacksonville interior design staff won four of six categories at the First Annual Design Award Gala sponsored by the International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) North Florida chapter. Additionally, GS&P’s Jacksonville office earned LEED-CI Silver certification in 2011 and the firm’s local design projects, such as CSX’s 550 Water Street relocation and Brooks Health Administrative Offices, have been celebrated for their success and sustainability.

About Community First Credit Union:
Community First Credit Union of Florida (Community First) is a state-chartered credit union based in Jacksonville serving anyone who lives or works on the First Coast. Community First is one of the 10 largest credit unions in the state, serving over 106,000 members and with assets exceeding $1 billion. Community First has 16 locations and about 300 employees. A not-for-profit, Community First is a full-service financial institution offering banking, loans, mortgages, and investments for consumers and businesses throughout the First Coast.

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