Clark Bastian: First-floor remodel at downtown Fidelity branch a success

Employees work inside Fidelity Bank's renovated lobby in downtown Wichita on Tuesday.
Employees work inside Fidelity Bank's renovated lobby in downtown Wichita on Tuesday. The Wichita Eagle

Not long after the completion of a year-long renovation project recently at the bank’s downtown headquarters, Fidelity Bank Chairman Clark Bastian witnessed his favorite customer reaction to the work.

“There was a lady who came in when I was in the lobby area,” Bastian said. “I saw her walk in and she said, ‘What have you done?’

“She just stood there with her mouth open, so I went over and asked her if that reaction was good or bad.”

For the customer and for Bastian, who also serves as Fidelity’s CEO, the reaction was positive after the complete renovation of the first floor and lobby area at the bank’s location at 100 E. English.

The lobby features glass walls that allow for more natural light, several private meeting rooms, a receptionist desk and a smaller teller station. Besides updating a space that was designed in the 1980s, Bastian said the layout now features aspects more geared toward today’s banking customer — fewer teller windows and a more comfortable space for meetings and one-on-one interactions.

The north side of the lobby area now looks out toward Heritage Square and a courtyard where employees can eat lunch. Bastian said one of his favorite pieces of the new space — about 5,000 square feet on the first floor — is the natural stone floor, which is accented with a laser-cut ceramic tile pattern.

“I’m very pleased with what was done,” Bastian said. “I’ve worked on this block for almost 40 years and it’s exciting to see all of the things happening downtown.

“I don’t know if I’ll be around for the next lobby renovation here, so I’m happy this one turned out so well.”

Also as part of the renovation project, the tellers who work the bank’s drive-through lanes — who had been stationed on the building’s third floor — now work on the ground level. Wichita-based firm WDM designed the new space, while Conco Construction, another local company, contracted for the work.

The renovations were part of a series of upgrades commissioned by the bank in recent years that totaled about $2 million. In addition, Fidelity purchased the historic Carnegie building at 220 S. Main — just steps from the lobby area — in 2006 and spent several million dollars renovating it.

Work began on the lobby area in November 2014 and was completed in late September, said Fidelity marketing director Katie Grover.

“It’s just a much more inviting space,” Bastian said. “It’s a safer environment, too.

“Everyone seems very pleased with the improvements.”

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath