Million dollar remodel is wrapping up

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Business: del Norte Credit Union to host community-wide celebration Nov. 4

By Carol A. Clark

Champagne, hors d’oeuvres and music top the slate for del Norte Credit Union’s upcoming grand reopening party. The community is invited to celebrate the facility’s $1 million makeover from 5-7 p.m., Nov. 4 at the 1000 Trinity Dr., facility.

“We’re excited about our branch remodel and want to invite everyone to come to our grand reopening to see all of the wonderful new features we’ve incorporated into the facility,” said DNCU board member Levi Lopez. “We also want the public to know that we appreciate the support we’ve received from Los Alamos and White Rock and look forward to serving these communities as well as the communities of Santa Fe and
Espanola for many more years to come.”

DNCU’s Los Alamos branch remodeling work began last April. The new interior carpet, paints and ceiling systems are modern, more eco-friendly and the drywall and ceiling tiles are constructed from recycled material. DNCU replaced most of its existing light fixtures with LED and fluorescent fixtures.

Offices, staff areas and restroom lights are now controlled by motion sensors so the lights turn off when no one is using the space. The floor plan for the newly remodeled central lobby area is designed to create “daylighting” through glass windows in interior walls that project natural light into the lobby.        

DNCU also added energy-efficient heating and cooling to its new perimeter offices and community room that zone the building for better control of its heating and cooling energy usage. Adding shade devices over the tall windows on the south and west facades and entryway further reduces the sun’s heat; reducing the cooling needed on warmer days.         

A community room for public use for meetings and events is part of several interior redesign features. The new layout also increases office space and member privacy.

The waiting area is now centralized and tech-savvy.

“While members wait, we want them to be comfortable,” said Branch Manager Nickole Aguilar Garcia during last spring’s groundbreaking event. “The new waiting area provides members with access to computers, wireless Internet, television, a beverage station and educational material.”

In re-using and upgrading the existing building rather than building new, DNCU exercised its commitment to the environment. Exterior upgrades include a modern design and new landscaping, replacing gravel landscape areas along Trinity Drive and Knecht Street with low water use plants and trees.

DNCU invested $1 million in its remodel designed to offer many new service enhancements not only to its members but to the community at large. The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is participating in next month’s grand reopening event.

“This is a significant investment in our community … I love the stone work on the building’s exterior and think it really enhances our downtown … ” Member Services Coordinator Katy Korkos said.

DNCU also received compliments from the Los Alamos Community Development Department on the new exterior and landscaping design. DNCU has been working with the county to ensure that the exterior and landscaping design are in alignment with future downtown developments.

del Norte Credit Union is a not for profit organization and remained open for business throughout the seven-month remodeling project. DNCU originally chartered in 1954 as Los Alamos Scientific Lab Credit Union. It initially served 54 members with $1,160 in assets.

The credit union’s field of membership has made several changes over the years. In 1959, the name was changed to Los Alamos Employees Credit Union; it serviced 2,717 members, and hired its first full-time manager. In 1977, membership grew to 16,825 and share accounts became federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. In 1981, the credit union became a community charter and began providing financial services to surrounding communities.

In 1998, Santa Fe Federal Employees Federal Credit Union merged with Los Alamos Credit Union.
In April 1999, the credit union’s name was officially changed to del Norte Credit Union, which now services more than 46,000 members in 14 counties in northern New Mexico.