Work On Farmer’s Bank Building In Minden Nearing Completion

Posted By on November 6, 2014

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by Joey Crandall, joey@carsonvalleytimes.com

The work is moving quickly as crews put the final touches on the 2nd Farmer’s Bank of Carson Valley building on Esmeralda Avenue in Minden.

Upon completion, it’ll become the Nevada headquarters of Bently Enterprises and the first big piece of the Heritage District project which will eventually include the Bently Heritage estate distillery in the Minden Flour Milling Company building across Highway 395.

“It is coming together,”said Cary Richardson, vice president of business operations for Miles Construction, which has been the general contractor on the bank building project.

“It’s been a very challenging, and very rewarding project from start to finish.”

Among the project’s most unique facets is the aim toward attaining Platinum certfication in Leadership in Energy and Envionmental Design grading. Platinum is the highest level granted by the Green Building Certification Institute.

Included in those efforts is a bank of natural lighting, which workers are calling “the halo,” that flows through a network of mirrored tunnels running up and out of the roof. Ground source heating and cooling will run through the building thanks to a series of 18 300-foot-deep holes bored into the ground below 4th Street, which runs along the side of the building.  An array of photovoltaic panels is being installed atop a steel structure that will help provide electricity to the building.

“We had to meld a bunch of really unique issues, basically taking a roughly 100-year-old structure and transforming it into a LEED Platinum condidate,” Richardson said.

When the public finally gets to see the inside, the exterior brick walls and trademark gold-tiled ceiling will remain largely in their original state. Most of the rest of it, if only subtly, has had work done.

That’s not to say that vast portions of the building and its interior detail haven’t been kept – just renovated, refurbished or repurposed in most cases.

“It was interesting from the very start,” Richardson said. “One of the first things we did was get in there and investigate everything. The brick and mortar was in really good shape. There were good bones to start with.

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“As we dug deeper, we were surprised quite often, mainly on structural issues. One of the important things to Chris (Bently) was to maintain some of the interior features of the bank, like the gold ceiling.

“There was a structural failure of a beam in the ceiling, so the challenge became how do we replace that beam without disturbing the ceiling. Those types of things were the really rewarding parts, just testing our ability to find unique solutions to an inordinate amount of unforeseen questions.

“It was an incredible building to work on in so many ways. One day you’d open up a wall and be amazed at the craftsmanship and detail inside, just a throwback to the old world approach. That was really a treat.

“Then the next day, you’d open up and wall and say, ‘What in the world were they thinking? How is this even standing up?’ We started keeping a structural engineer on site three days a week, just to design through those issues on a day-to-day basis.”

On the interior, the octagonal group of teller windows have been reconfigured toward the rear of the building, alongside a staircase leading to the newly-constructed mezzanine level built on top of the former main vault of the bank.

The vault door will now open into a conference room just off of the public lobby, where the secondary vault will remain intact.

Natural light is king throughout the building, and everything is designed on a central line from the main entryway vestibule.

On the office floor, accent work has been created out of old pieces of the bank, including closets, doors and counters.

The roof was nearly entirely reconstructed, and now hosts a social pavilion overlooking downtown Minden with a 360-degree panoramic view.

“The way it will be set up, when you first walk in, one of the first things you’ll see is that gold ceiling,” Richardson said. “The trim is still intact. The vault is off to the left. People will notice the familiarity. As you move deeper into the building, things start to change a little bit, and then there are significant changes.

“The goal was to maintain the key elements and marry them with breathing a whole new life into the building. It’s a whole new chapter for the building and the start of a new chapter for the Heritage District.”

Richardson said the project has utilized hundreds of workers, both locally and from out of the area.

“It came down to an international effort on some of our supplies, just with some of the unique pieces and parts we were looking for,” he said. “The square footage of the building is deceptively small, only 13,000 square feet. But there have been a significant number of tradespeople working very intently on the final product.

“Architecturally, we have loved working on it. There is just so much detail, so many exacting facets to it. Just personally it was really a treat to be able to be a part of building something that will carry on long after I am gone. I’ve never had an opportunity quite like this before.”

Richardson said he was also thankful for the cooperation of the Town of Minden and Douglas County for their help in assisting with the project.

“There were just so many areas,” he said. “We wanted a ground source heating system, but we don’t have a parking lot. We had nowhere to put the bores in the ground. The town worked with us to allow us to shut down 4th Street and drill our holes. They’ve just been a fantastic partner in this.

The project should be complete within the next month, at which point Bently Enterprises is scheduled to move in. Preliminary work on the site for the Bently Heritage Distillery has already begun.

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