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Family Trust celebrates at groundbreaking

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The groundbreaking of our new headquarters mixed gold shovels and hard hats with scholarships for students at York Technical College, and bowties that paid tribute to CEO Lee Gardner’s 35 years on the job.

Many who attended the groundbreaking Tuesday sported Gardner’s trademark bow tie to recognize his contributions to the community. Gardner joined the credit union Aug. 20, 1979, when it was still known as the Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Federal Credit Union.

“We asked what we could do in a small way to honor Lee for 35 years of service to this community,” said Gary Williams of Williams & Fudge during an impromptu tribute for Gardner’s anniversary. “We didn’t want to shave our heads so we wore bow ties.”

The new headquarters will be located in the Knowledge Park, an area between Winthrop University and a downtown Rock Hill. When fully developed, it is expected to be home to retail and restaurants, housing and more than 1,000 high-tech jobs.

To get ready for those jobs, Family Trust presented a $10,000 donation for scholarships to York Tech that is developing a curriculum to provide fast-track learning for computer programmers. Called LAMP DevCamp, the 10-week, total immersion curriculum will provide intense training in multiple systems.

“This bold initiative by Family Trust to rebuild its headquarters in this location will create an economic ripple effect throughout the whole Knowledge Park area,” said Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols. “In fact, it’s already starting.”

Family Trust’s new headquarters will feature a full-service branch, Family Trust Investment Services, an atrium, a community room, and a terrace for employees. The 36,000-square-foot, three-story building on 2.5 also will feature artwork throughout the building is being provided by Winthrop students.

The building will house an estimated 65 people, including administrators and back-office employees. The current Operations Center on Dave Lyle Boulevard will remain open.

Designed by BB+M Architecture, 505 Design and LandDesign, all of Charlotte, the brick and glass façade blends historic mill architecture with the clean look of modern technology. Construction by J.M. Cope Construction Co. of Rock Hill is expected to take 10 to 12 months.