A Lasting Commitment to the Community

Taking on a greater role in serving its Texas community required a respected non-profit to invest in new office space designed to last. VT Architectural Doors finished with New Leaf Performance Veneers fit right in.

A new space, a new opportunity for growth

When the United Way of Central Texas (UWCT) adopted a modern Community Impact Model that found it taking a more active role in meeting the health, education, income and basic needs of Central Texas residents, it led to significant changes for the organization: new programming, added staff—and the need for more space than its 2,400-square-foot facility offered. UWCT found an opportunity in the 6,000-square-foot Strasburger Building in downtown Temple. The size and location of the one-time USO were ideal. However, the interior required major renovations.

Space planning and interior design were headed up by Neal Architectural Group, also of Temple. Project Manager Megan Mondrik worked closely with the client and Gwen Petter, product design director at Wilsonart. As one of the region’s largest employers, Wilsonart has long been an avid supporter of UWCT and its community activities. To show its support for this project, Wilsonart contributed various materials to the new office renovation project.

Designing for flexibility and longevity

The interior needed to accommodate the office activities of the UWCT staff, as well as the community programs operating out of the facility. In addition, the building needed conference spaces for meetings with partner organizations, donors and the board of directors. Last but not least, the facility would house the UWCT’s 2-1-1 Call Center—a 24/7 health and human services resource that handles more than 48,000 incoming calls each year.

From a design standpoint, the space needed to be comfortable enough for the employees and attractive enough to make a good impression on those visiting the space either as clients, partners or potential donors. However, given that UWCT is a not-for-profit organization, it was essential that furnishings and fixtures provide lasting value to support the agency’s responsible stewardship of its financial resources. The design team sought a combination of a clean, comfortable aesthetic and practical, durable performance.

Performance finishes in the spotlight

In addition to such durable mainstays as luxury vinyl tile flooring, high pressure laminate cabinetry and quartz countertops, Mondrik and Petter selected VT Industries architectural doors with New Leaf Performance Veneers for the 17 individual doors and two sets of pocket doors within the building.

Applied to doors, furniture, wall panels, case goods and more, New Leaf is an engineered, pre-finished veneer surface that takes the beauty, depth and dimension of natural wood grain and elevates it to a level of consistency and performance unimaginable with traditional veneers. Each species is created from an original exemplar veneer, then re-created in up to five different stains.

“The client was a big fan of New Leaf, and we were happy to specify it,” Mondrik explained. “We were certainly comfortable with the performance aspects of it— there were no issues there. And we were really excited about the way it looked.”

The Plain Sawn Cherry in Slate coordinated beautifully with the clean, modern look that Mondrik and Petter were aiming for with the finishes. Knowing that New Leaf is resistant to fading and discoloration, scratches, dents, wear and impact meant that they could count on the doors to last for years longer than traditional veneer doors without showing their age. Not only did it elevate the look of the space, it was a smart choice to maximize the long-term value.

Serving its purpose beautifully

The staff, volunteers and partner organizations are delighted with the transformation of their new facility.

“The new United Way of Central Texas Center for Community Impact is a hub of activity for organizations working together to serve our communities,” President and CEO Stephanie O’Banion said. “The new facility provides a warm and welcoming environment that our design team created using strategic colors and quality materials. We hope that it will be a place of convening for years to come.”

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