story & photo
by John Stratton
A sunny morning in Waterford heralded a new day for Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, as its executives joined dozens of well-wishers from area communities at a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new headquarters building.
Located at 1055 Hartford Turnpike on Route 85 north of Route 395, the 65,000-square-foot facility will also be the credit union’s 13th branch office and will feature a 200-seat community room for public use.
The chromed groundbreaking shovels were wielded by credit union personnel as well as representatives of the architects and builders who will be at work on the hillside site for the next year.
“Despite the economy,” said Brian A. Orenstein, Charter Oak’s Chief Executive Officer, “we are making a bold statement here: a state-of-the-art building that’s being built with local labor. And late next year we’ll open the doors, and begin a new chapter in Charter Oak’s history.”
Among the elected officials present were Dan Steward, First Selectman of Waterford; Andrea Stillman, regional State Senator; Betsy Ritter, 38th District State Representative; Kevin Ryan, 139th District State Representative; Paul Formica, First Selectman of East Lyme; Ron McDaniel, Mayor of Montville; John Rodolico, Mayor of Ledyard; and Bill Caron, Town Councilman in Montville.
Waterford’s Dan Steward celebrated the groundbreaking with a townwide proclamation that named September 20 “Charter Oak Federal Credit Union Day.” Tony Sheridan, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, added that the union was “truly a home-grown company” that reflected the solid values of the region.
The Waterford building will become Charter Oak’s main administrative center; its present Groton headquarters will remain a major branch office near Electric Boat, where it was founded 73 years ago as the Groton Shipbuilders Federal Credit Union. Charter Oak is now the third-largest credit union in Connecticut, with some 70,000 members in New London and Windham counties and $750 million in assets.
The new headquarters building is designed by Point One Architects of Old Lyme, with engineering services by CLA Engineers, Inc., of Norwich. The general contractor is Enterprise Builders of Newington.