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First National eyes new digs

Bank building will feature heated drive-through lanes and additional office space for lease

— John Kerst has spent enough time as a Rocky Mountain bank president to know what he wants in a new building.

Along with an impenetrable vault and an inviting lobby, Kerst made certain the new First National Bank of Steamboat Springs would have heated walkways and a heated drive-through lane. There will be no icy ruts surrounding the new First National, now under construction on U.S. 40 at Hilltop Parkway.

The bank tentatively hopes to hold a “pre open house” in about a month to give customers a sneak preview of what the building will look like.

“Most people don’t get to see a building like this under construction,” Kerst explained.

He waved one arm at the building’s mechanical room and a large furnace he refers to as the “heat pump.” It will ensure that the drive-through lanes at the rear of the new bank don’t require snow removal.

The bank currently occupies a temporary modular building immediately adjacent to the new bank. Construction began in May and Kerst is optimistic his staff will be able to move in early March, several weeks ahead of schedule.

The new building is already weatherproof and crews were prepping to fill joints in the drywall this week.

“Mark Halvorson and Snow Country Construction are ahead of the timeline,” Kerst said.

The bank currently employs 10 people and they need the additional room afforded by the new building. Kerst anticipates he will hire two or three more employees once the permanent bank opens.

“It will allow us to provide the quality of service I think locals deserve,” Kerst said. “It will allow us to offer safe-deposit boxes to our customers for the first time, and it allows up to look at other services like mortgage and brokerage services (in the future).”

First National Bank of Steamboat Springs is locally owned by 32 couples or individuals who are investors.

Among the investors are project architect Eric Smith and Tim Borden of the Borden Companies. Borden and Smith will both open offices on the second floor of the bank building.

Kerst said two other tenants have signed leases, but he’s not at liberty to name them yet.

From the second floor office suites, large windows offer views of the Sleeping Giant, Old Town Steamboat and Emerald Mountain to the west. To the east, views of the upper slopes of Mount Werner are available.

The bank building encompasses about 14,000 square feet on three floors. The public bank area will occupy 5,600 square feet of on the main level.

The bank will also occupy half of the downstairs, with the balance remaining for one or two tenants. The downstairs is below ground level, but natural light is admitted through two large window wells.

The exterior of the building will be finished with a natural rock wainscoting around the entire perimeter of the building. The bulk of the building will be sided with cedar, except for areas of shingle board, which will add a third texture under the eaves.

Kerst said the large rock walls to the rear of the building will be irrigated and landscaped by Mountain West Environments.


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