Old Point National Bank headquarters, 101 East Queen St., Hampton
Old Point National Bank
E. T. Gresham Co.
History and sustainability are central to the new headquarters of Old Point National Bank. From placing the building over an archaeological dig to installing a 12-ton, polished steel vault door that graced the bank’s first headquarters in 1923, past and present will be weaved together as construction gets under way this summer.
In fact, the $8 million, five-story, headquarters in downtown Hampton is a monument to reuse. For starters, the bank leveled a small branch dating back to 1970 to make room for the larger headquarters at an existing half-acre site on Queen Street. The wood, asphalt and brick from the demolition went to a recycling center.
When the Hampton Roads bank began exploring the idea of replacing the branch two years ago, leaders met with city officials who pushed Old Point to consider something more ambitious. By combining a headquarters and a full-service branch in one 50,000-square-foot location, the project would give Old Point room to grow and boost Hampton’s downtown revitalization.
Since downtown areas had yielded earlier historical artifacts, Old Point took the unusual step of delaying construction by more than a year to allow an archaeological excavation. In 2010, it voluntarily commissioned the James River Institute for Archaeology to conduct a $100,000 dig that struck a chord with employees and the community.
“We felt that launching the project with this commitment to Hampton’s past would demonstrate how strongly we feel about contributing to the community’s future,” says Louis G. Morris, president and CEO of Old Point, which has operated continuously in Hampton since its founding 88 years ago.
During the course of the dig — which coincided with Hampton’s 400th anniversary celebration — more than 4,000 members of the public visited the site. Nearly 1,000 artifacts dating back to the early 18th century were found, including pottery shards, three wells and a cellar.
To involve staff, Old Point offered them the opportunity to volunteer for a half a day with pay. Branch manager Sharon Martin and her 17-year-old daughter went by. “We were scooping dirt chunks into a five-gallon bucket and sifting for hours … It was so exciting when we found things,” Martin recalls.
With the archaeological phase over and the beginning of construction, the project has incorporated sustainable design elements needed for a silver certification under LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). For instance, the skin of the building will be pre-cast concrete with inlaid brick. It comes already fabricated, which helps mitigate waste, explains Randy Lyall, president of Lyall Design, the project’s architect. “If we had done it with just brick and a precast piece, we would have to scaffold the building, which creates a lot more dust and waste.”
For general contractor Dick Gresham the biggest challenge will be placing the building on top of the archaeological dig in such a way that it won’t disturb remaining artifacts. “You have it designed so that it can span over critical artifacts and structures that are remaining under there. We would like to miss them, so they would be there for future generations. “
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