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Published October 06 2010

Gate City celebrates remodel

To call Gate City Bank’s latest celebration a grand opening would be a misnomer – the company has been in business in Fargo for nearly 90 years. To call it a reopening isn’t quite right, either – the bank never closed.

But after 15 months of office renovation, street closures and giant sign construction at 200 2nd Ave. N., the bank’s executives are ready to celebrate anyway.

“We’re just thrilled with the project,” said David Wrolstad, office manager of the downtown location and three other branches in Fargo. “It’s been a year and a half in the making.”

Wrolstad’s remarks came at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday night to mark the completion of the $4.6 million renovation, which began in May 2009.

The event was held in a sparkling new lobby that now includes leather couches, flat-screen televisions and a faux fireplace. The first two floors of the building have also been remodeled to accommodate more staff and create more space for private conversations with customers.

The most visible work came on the outside, however, where the bank spruced up the behemoth four-sided sign bearing its logo. The sign, which is 20 feet wide, 38 feet long and 20 feet tall, is so big that working on it required the closure of the 200 block of Second Avenue North for stretches of the past few months.

Gate City Bank has been in Fargo since 1923, and in its current building since 1956. The building has undergone a handful of updates since then, but Janess Sveet, the bank’s marketing manager, said this work “was by far the most expansive.”

Wrolstad said the work was disruptive at times (he himself spent more a year working out of the basement), but the results drew praise from the crowd of about 100 who attended Tuesday’s event.

Among those impressed was Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, who said he’s “still in awe” at the new-look interior.

“Somebody has set a new standard for building construction here,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502