Credit Union of America

Wichita, KS

Credit Union of America (CUA) reached out to NewGround for a proposal to remodel and incorporate new technology into their largest branch in Wichita, Kansas. Their 23,000 square foot, two and a half story building had not been updated in twenty years. CUA looked to NewGround to update the building to reflect their strong sense of brand in the community, solve an issue with birds nesting above the main entrance vestibules, improve workflow in the retail space, and update aging infrastructure. This space was CUA’s busiest location—with over 20,000 transactions per month—meaning the remodel would need to be executed with minimal disruption to member services.

The NewGround Strategy Team completed a market study and determined that their branch network was strong and existing in good locations in proportion to their member populations. They determined that their flagship location had the largest volume of foot traffic and would greatly  benefit from a remodel and improved functionality of the retail space.

This remodel was unique since both the interior and exterior were going to get an innovative new look. The exterior was upgraded with a fresh design, compatible with CUA’s branded appearance. Located in the historic Delano district of Wichita, the building’s exterior had to be sensitive to the surrounding architecture. A natural stone façade was laid over the existing stucco on the lower portion of the exterior, the stucco was then removed and replaced with two colors of siding on the upper portion. A dramatic two-story entrance was added to each side of the building replacing the original entrances with a design to eliminate unsightly bird debris.

The dark, enclosed interior did not function well with their present branch operations. The NewGround Design Team worked to create a space that would perform better with the heavy member traffic, all while keeping the renovation costs low since CUA was highly budget-conscious regarding this project. Since NewGround is a certified dealer for multiple furniture companies, a high volume of product was available at a competitive price. The financial services area was upgraded with cubicles to provide more privacy for employees working with members. CUA wanted those employees to still see the lobby and offices, opting to use all-glass cube panels that provided some privacy and sound absorption. In the transaction area, a cash bar was implemented in place of the traditional teller line, which lowers the counter height and allows for more open interaction between employees and members. Cash recyclers are also located in the cash bar, speeding up transactions during peak hours and securing all cash in the branch. The pneumatic tubes for the drive up were relocated to a more accessible area so the Credit Union could maintain their current transaction volume with fewer tellers. CUA’s tagline, “Welcome to Friendly,” is visible throughout the first-floor member services area, along with a new glass railing on the second story walkway. Other features included a rich wooden ceiling throughout the two-story atrium and environmental graphics that convey member interactions and community heritage landmarks. These added design elements created a space with a much more open, bright, and inviting atmosphere.

The build team uncovered many structural issues and some water damage in the building upon opening up walls, all of which needed to be corrected. This caused some challenges within the timeline and budget, but the NewGround team worked hard to overcome the setbacks and completed an incredible transformation. CUA will be able to better serve their members with this improved look, feel, and functionality far into the future.