By: Brad Ingle, Hallmark Builders, Inc. (hallmark-builders.com)
Every now and again a project comes along that a general contractor can really get excited about. The new First Partners Bank Headquarters caught my attention from the very first conversation with Mr. Andrew Patterson and a subsequent site visit. This is an incredible building! It was originally completed in 1928 and built to last. Great craftsmanship and outstanding original architectural features catch your eye from the moment you walk in the door. Needless to say we are excited to be a part of this project.
Historical renovations though do offer up some tough challenges. For example, originally this building had no air-conditioning. About 30 years ago an a/c system was retrofit into the building. This system has passed its usefulness and we are now installing a completely new state-of-the-art commercial air-conditioning system; into a building that was not originally designed to accommodate such a system.
In addition, to bring the building up to code we are installing a new NFPA 13 Fire Sprinkler system, and electrical system. The existing electrical system for this building had been modified and added on to throughout the years but largely remained as installed more than 85 years ago. With safety and longevity of the building in mind Mr. Patterson and the team at First Partners Bank did not hesitate on making the decision to totally replace the Power Distribution system for the entire building — all new switchgear, sub-panels, outlets and of course lighting, except for historic fixtures. One of my favorite features of this building are the original light fixtures; from the very ornate fixtures located on either side of the main entrance doors to the very simple “time period” fixtures located in the existing first floor restrooms. These will remain and continue to lend unique character to this historical building.
Hallmark Builders, Inc. started the demolition phase of this project in early January 2013. We have encountered many obstacles but with the guidance of a great architectural and designs team; Lathan Associates Architects, P. C., everything has worked out well. We conduct our OAC meetings every Monday afternoon, we always have much to review and discuss…its quite the welcome challenge!