MELBOURNE, Fla. – Who knew that a huge glass and concrete headquarters would be welcomed here -apparently Space Coast Credit Union did. What could have been viewed as ostentatious has instead struck a balance and reinforced SCCU's presence as a part of the community here. SCCU President/CEO Douglas Samuels views the new headquarters as the physical expression of partnership and community. According to Samuels, the $8.5 million pentagon shaped building design began "not with pencil on paper or mouse on computer but with a close partnering with both the architect and the builder." The project also proved to be a boost to the local economy with local design/build firm Building Management Systems Inc. tapping local contractors and labor whenever possible. Over 100,000 hours from the local work force were used directly in the construction of the building with additional hours generated for local subcontractors who were selected to provide plumbing, windows and computer systems. With land purchased since 1995 waiting to be developed and various key departments including human resources, marketing and mortgages operating from a leased facility in a local mall shopping strip the time was right for SCCU to move to a new headquarters. The over $1 billion credit union financed the building project itself. The new three story 80,000 square foot facility took over a year to build and houses every department including a call center and even a back-up generator, which can supply power to over 15 normal sized homes, under one roof. "For those of us who were annexed into leased space this move has been a positive timesaver and the environment is one that makes me look forward to going to work everyday," said SCCU Community Development Manager Angela Lazazzera. "Not only are the operations streamlined but there is more of a sense of cohesiveness- now we can interact with other departments by just going across the hall instead of getting into our car to head across town." Inside the building, members can take a stroll through time as they pass walls featuring black-and-white images of Brevard County in the 1920s and 1930s, provided by the Florida Historical Society and some newer images taken by photographer Steve Vaughn. "The photos are a reflection of how we view ourselves and we are proud of the long-term relationships we've established over the years," said Samuels. The new headquarters, which has been designed to withstand hurricane force gale winds, also boasts a high-tech "smart" security system where employees are only given clearance to certain areas of the facility via card badges or codes. Even the employee parking lot is secured with a card-operated gate. With a focus on training and development, SCCU has taken teller training to the next level by going "live". New tellers enter a mock branch that is designed as an exact duplicate down to the product display items, and use real money to serve role-playing "members" to hone their skills before heading to actual branches. "I think we are one of the only credit unions that does this type of in-house `live' training program," said Lazazzera. "The network system is the same as at the branch and for about two weeks tellers train here before heading to an actual branch for on-the-job training. It is great because by the time they get to the branch they are stepping into a setting that is already familiar to them." Despite such employee amenities such as a workout room complete with treadmills and weights, a reading room/library where staffers can study or meditate, a break room stocked with vending machines, privacy phone booths and a television, and an outdoor pavilion that can be used as an open air meeting space or just a place to eat lunch, the credit union kept an eye on the bottom line. According to BMS President Doug Padgett there are many cost-saving measures including the reuse of corrugated metal floor molding throughout the building, which saved SCCU about $30,000. In addition, the building's concrete exterior with northern facing windows that let in lots of natural light in the space, was left unpainted- a move that Padgett says will save the credit union up to $750,000 in exterior maintenance over the life of the building. "They wanted the structure to reflect that they are a well grounded corporate neighbor and entity in the community but they didn't want something with too much flair," said Padgett. "The building was designed to be functional quality with good curb appeal. So you'll notice that inside the building is very utilitarian in finishes and products used. For example, we used 3×3 carpet tiles instead of rolls of carpet so that if part of the carpet is damaged or looking worn a square can simply be removed and replaced." Celebrating its 51st anniversary and the milestone of reaching $1 billion in assets, Samuels says that opening the new headquarters at the same time "just happens to be a befitting coincidence." [email protected]

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