First National breaks ground

Bank's permanent home should be complete by March

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— First National Bank of Steamboat Springs broke ground on its permanent home at U.S. 40 and Hilltop Parkway this week, and Bank President John Kerst said he hopes his staff can move into the new building by next March.

"As of Monday we have a project under way and we hope to complete it within 10 to 11 months," Kerst said.

When the building is complete, the bank won't have far to move; it currently occupies a temporary building on the same site. The bank will continue to operate out of the temporary structure throughout the construction process. Late in the process, the small building will be removed to make room for a permanent bank parking lot.

Kerst said the new building will include about 16,000 square feet of which the bank will occupy about half. The balance will be offered as tenant space.

The three-story structure will include a garden level, half of which will be occupied by the bank; a main level, entirely occupied by the bank; and a third floor which will be available for rent.

The new building will allow the locally owned bank to expand its drive-up facilities and offer safety deposit boxes, Kerst said.

Mark Halvorsen of Snow Country Construction in Steamboat Springs submitted the successful bid to become the general contractor for First National Bank, and Eric Smith Associates performed the architecture. Smith designed a building that incorporates stone and wood siding with timber post-and-beam accents on the exterior. Smith said he is particularly pleased with the asymmetrically designed entry way to the building.

Kerst said he is optimistic the new building can be closed in, and site preparation can be completed before winter.

"I think the building will fit in well with the boulder wall on the site," Kerst said, a reference to a large retaining wall the bank built, that caused some displeasure among members of Steamboat Springs City Council when the project came through the city planning process.

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