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Navy Federal Credit Union

Heritage Oaks Center,

Building One

Pensacola, Fla.


Navy Federal Credit Union

Award of Excellence

When Navy Federal Credit Union executives realized they needed to expand their operations, they chose Pensacola, Fla., as a new location. There, they built the 62,000-square-foot Heritage Oaks campus for a staff of 400 call-center operatives. Atlanta-based architect ASD helped NFCU create an environmentally sensitive office design that promotes the well-being of employees. The philosophy was simple: Healthy employees equal healthy business.

The building is certified Gold LEED, and natural elements abound: Oxygen-producing plants are everywhere, while a 400-foot-long glass exterior wall gives those manning the phones a view of the woods beyond. On breaks, workers can use the fitness trail around the campus or sit on one of the many outdoor benches. (Gym facilities and a health clinic are also located onsite.) Inside, an air-filtration system and individual employee control of heat and cooling within workstations makes for more comfortable work areas. When the Heritage Oaks Center opened in 2004, it attracted 1,300 applicants for just 60 positions. Since then, executives say, employee retention has remained high, with many applicants referred by current employees. "We have certainly seen our employee turnover significantly reduced," says Debbie Calder, vice-president for the NFCU, Greater Pensacola. "The building's design and our desire for this to be an employee-focused workplace has helped tremendously in the Navy Federal Credit Union being seen as an employer of choice."

Back to BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Award winners

Helen Walters is the editor for's Innovation and Design Channel .

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