How do you create more space within your existing building footprint? That’s exactly the question WESTconsin Credit Union’s New Richmond office was asking during 2017. Having been a part of the New Richmond community for years, they were outgrowing the facility that was originally built for them more than a decade ago. The answer was a total interior renovation project that made more efficient use of their space.
Plans for a renovation were made and Derrick Building Solutions of New Richmond was selected as the General Contractor for the project.
Marie Gremore, Vice President of the New Richmond office, said, “The renovation work was all done while our office remained open during about a three-month period in 2018. The project took place in four stages starting with the back offices and ending in the lobby.” Offices were reconfigured, finishes were updated, and a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere was enhanced in the lobby. One of the most obvious changes to members was the removal of the traditional teller line and the addition of universal service areas for individuals to meet with credit union personnel. New flooring, furniture, fixtures, and an upgraded refreshment area are also notable changes to the public areas of the office.
Any time a renovation project is happening inside a place of business and that business continues to be open can pose challenges. Marie said the New Richmond WESTconsin Credit Union team worked hard to keep the atmosphere fun during what many might have considered an inconvenience. “We created a weekly email that went out to all staff explaining what work would be taking place next and as much specific information as we could to help them plan around especially noisy or dusty projects and temporary relocations,” Marie said. She added, “Our team had a lot of fun during the process from taking selfies in the plastic ‘Derrick’ hardhats to sharing memes about construction dust, to wearing casual clothes and specially designed T-shirts to work during that time period.”
The project was completed in a little more than three months. During that time WESTconsin Credit Union staff and John Timmers, Superintendent, and Mark Johnson, Project Manager, met regularly. When asked about working with Derrick Building Solutions, Marie said, “The entire team, and especially John, were wonderful to work with. Any time we had a question or a need we reached out to John and he took care of things right away.” Some parts of the work were completed after WESTconsin’s business hours. “The Derrick team was very considerate of the needs of the WESTconsin Credit Union’s employees and customers throughout the project. From adherence to the schedule to open and frequent communication, they treated our project as a priority.”
When asked what advice she would have for other businesses planning for a renovation, Marie shared:
- Make it fun. Yes, the renovation project included the inconveniences of dust, noise, shifting of workspaces, and more, but the team at the New Richmond WESTconsin Credit Union kept a positive attitude, shared jokes, and made the best of the situation.
- Communicate often. Marie and the management team sent weekly updates to the staff about what would be coming up next, how to prepare, and what impacts the next construction step might have on the day to day operations. This allowed staff to help communicate with credit union members about coming changes, as well.
- Literally, cover everything. Keeping the office clean during construction was a challenge and covering everything was a help, but dust is inevitable. Take the time to cover as much as you can even if you think the work that will be done during off hours will not be dusty.
Working with an experienced team that cared about the project was a key to success. “It went smoothly from A to Z,” she added. The end result is a WESTconsin Credit Union office that is modern, comfortable, and positioned to serve the community into the future.
The New Richmond WESTconsin Credit Union team kept a positive attitude and worked to make the process fun for the employees and customers of the credit union. Photo courtesy of WESTconsin Credit Union.