Ground broken for new bank

The Inter-Mountain photos by Sarah Goodrich A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday morning, as the Upshur County community welcomes Citizens Bank of West Virginia’s new location, 77 West Main Street in Buckhannon.

BUCKHANNON — With a projected completion date of late fall, Citizens Bank of West Virginia will have a new branch office in Buckhannon by the end of the year.

On Friday morning, a groundbreaking ceremony was held as officials and community members prepare for Citizens Bank of West Virginia’s new full service facility, situated at the former Bill Kelley Chevrolet location. Currently the bank has a small office located at 77 West Main Street.

Speakers for the ceremony included Tina McPhail, chief financial officer for Pray Construction; Mayor Dave McCauley; Commission president Sam Nolte; and Nathaniel Bonnell, president and CEO of Citizens of West Virginia

Bonnell spoke briefly about the bank’s history, which began in 1924 when it first opened its doors.

“In that 94-year history, we have grown to serve Upshur, Randolph, Tucker and Pocahontas counties through five branch offices,” he said.

Nathaniel Bonnell, CEO and president of Citizens Bank of West Virginia speaks about the growth of the bank during the groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning.

As technology and industry has evolved through the years, Bonnell said the bank’s “sense of purpose” has remained the same.

“Whether we’re helping make home ownership a reality for families or providing capital for small businesses or we’re supporting community organizations through volunteerism … Citizens is very committed to changing lives in the communities in which we serve,” he said. “We truly are a community bank despite the fact that word is not in our name.”

In June of 2014, Citizens Bank of West Virginia was welcomed into the Buckhannon community, as the bank opened its doors at the 10 East Main Street location.

“In our short time in Buckhannon, our branch has truly outgrown the small office we have down the street,’ he said. “It has become paramount that we add staff and resources to our presence here.”

Bonnell said the expansion project represents the bank’s decision to make a significant and permanent investment in the community.

“We are investing more than $2.6 million in this project and I hope that everyone here today can recognize and understand with this investment Citizens Bank of West Virginia is here to stay,” he said. “Buckhannon is our home too. It speaks volumes about our future together – our intention to serve this community and our role in the local economy.”

Bonnell said the target completion date of the program is scheduled for late fall. He said the new site is projected to be opened prior to the end of 2018.

The architect for the project is Mills Group with Pray Construction Group as the builder of the new location.

“Citizens Bank with the leadership of Nathaniel and the board of directors is making a significant investment in Buckhannon,” said McPhail. “The city of Buckhannon and the surrounding community will benefit from civic minded citizens and their increased presence in the area.”

McPhail noted customers will enjoy a new brick and glass 4,700 square-foot modern structure.

“With a beautiful high tower, which I think will become a town landmark,” she said.

The new site will feature 40 off-street parking spaces, a three lane drive-thru and an on-site ATM.

“That will greatly enhance the customers’ experience,” said McPhail.

McCauley and Nolte welcomed the bank’s new location to the area, commenting the site will be a nice addition to the downtown area.

“Citizens Bank already has established itself as a collaborative group of folks that support our community’s events,” said McCauley.

“We’ve all dealt with banks throughout the years, and it seems like the personal touch is not quite what it used to be, but I think that’s what separates Citizens Bank from all the other banks,” said Nolte.