The Power of Workplace

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A ROOM FULL OF CORPORATE RECRUITERS GET TO DESIGN THEIR IDEAL WORK ENVIRONMENT?


Recruiters are on the front lines for corporations, and as many have experienced the workplace environment can either be a hindrance or a powerful tool. Last night, Team-KC: Life+Talent partnered with Alissa Wehmueller, workplace design expert with Helix Architecture + Design to explore the impact the workplace environment has on attracting and retaining talent. Alissa shared research on the benefits of investing in the work environment as well as best practices for how a company can achieve the greatest impact from their space.

AlissaImage courtesy of MetroWireMedia / Autumn Morningsky

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF INVESTING IN YOUR WORKPLACE?
There are a wide range of studies related to employee retention, engagement and attraction that have evaluated the benefits corporations experience when they invest in their workplace environment. A recent Work Design magazine article highlights how making that investment can enhance recruitment, lower attrition rates and increase profitability.

“A 2014 Hassell study indicated that the combination of strong overall culture and facilities actually outweighs salary and benefits when it comes to accepting a job offer. Moreover, a 2015 Chandler MacLeod study found that nearly three quarters of candidates would consider a slightly lower salaried position in a company that their friends have communicated is a great place to work.”

When you factor in the savings of employee retention — it can save a company $250,000 per employee — the financial benefits alone are a substantial payoff.

WE CAN’T ALL BE GOOGLE
As the workplace landscape shifts, there has been some backlash against the open office work environment in the media the last few years, including the widespread – Google got it wrong. Actually, Google got it right – for Google. But that doesn’t mean their environment is right for you. Ping pong tables, slides and yurts are not the key to a successful environment – understanding how your associates work and what they value is.

Trozzolo Communications

SO WHERE DO YOU START?
Creating the ideal space for your organization is a balance of qualitative and quantitative data. Bringing on a workplace design expert early to guide this info-gathering phase ensures that you are starting off on the right foundation of data. This information will guide the layout, furniture and amenities to make sure your company is investing in the right choices and gaining the greatest value for your employees and the company.

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A PROGRESSIVE WORKPLACE?
While the best solution will vary from company to company, there are three key factors we find are consistently driving the success of progressive work environment:

  1. Choice
  2. Wellness
  3. Telling your story

Trends will come and go, but creating a flexible environment that responds to the unique needs of your people and showcases your culture will pay dividends in retaining and attracting talent to your organization.

AMU

CHOICE: HOW DO YOU ACCOMMODATE DIFFERENT WORKSTYLES?
One size does not fit all. In fact, one size doesn’t fit
most. For the last 20 years the development of the desktop computer tethered us to our desks, but today’s technology allows us to work anywhere. This flexibility creates a tremendous opportunity to give employees the spaces and tools they need to support a variety of workstyles.

Various workstyles don’t just accommodate different individuals, but also the different tasks one individual might do throughout their day.

Day in the Life

And it’s not just about millennials.

“In 2015, the U.S. workforce was composed of 5 generations:

2% Traditionalist
29% Baby Boomers
34% GenX
34% Millennials
1% Post Millennials”

– Pew Research Center

Creating an environment that supports mentoring, collaboration and knowledge sharing across all of the generations in the workforce elevates the entire organization.

Workplace Wellness

WELLNESS: CAN YOU LEAVE YOUR OFFICE HEALTHIER THAN WHEN YOU ARRIVED?
Is it possible to create a space that reduces stress and helps promote physical well-being?
Employers have increasingly recognized the benefits of investing in initiatives that help improve the health of their associates. The loss of productivity and revenue that companies experience due illness can have a tremendous impact on a company’s bottom line.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that poor employee health accounts for some 45 million avoidable sick days each year and lost annual revenue of between $1,900 and $2,250 per employee.

This is particularly relevant to the design of work space because of the amount of time we spend at our offices each day and the impact that our environment has on our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Some of the ways you can positively impact your associates include:

  • Develop a space layout that encourages physical activity
  • Select ergonomic furniture to promote good posture
  • Provide a connection to the outdoors
  • Integrate spaces that offer refuge from distractions
  • Provide amenities that help foster relationships

These strategies contribute to health, engagement, happiness and overall job satisfaction.

Andrews McMeel Universal Lobby

TELLING YOUR STORY: DOES YOUR SPACE ALIGN WITH YOUR BRAND?
If you took your logo off the wall would visitors know who you are? What does your physical environment communicate about your culture?

“Out of 3,000 workers surveyed, only 41% say they know what their company stands for and how it differs from their competitors.”

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace

Using your space to communicate your mission, vision, values and company culture is a powerful tool for employees, clients and potential candidates. It clearly communicates that your company is “walking the walk” and investing in their culture.

KCADC TeamKC Helix Event

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR IDEAL ENVIRONMENT?
We wrapped up the evening with an interactive exercise that allowed teams of recruiters create their own company and design their ideal workplace environment for potential new hires. There were some fun elements (who wouldn’t want to work for a “Technology Party Planner”!) alongside some really well thought out solutions.

Does your sales team love to golf? Incorporating a putting green into the outdoor space can provide a break in the workday and help them keep their short game on point.
Are children your clients? Create a fun, kid-sized entryway that makes your space memorable.
How can you make portions of your space feel like home? Many of us feel like we get our best “focus-work” done at our own homes so creating a quiet, comfortable space that is free of distractions can offer the same relief during the work day.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful questions, big ideas and insights into the solutions you’ve implemented in your own workspaces!

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The needs of a modern workplace are constantly evolving alongside the people who work there. We would love to keep the dialog going on what is or isn’t working in your own work environment, the feedback you’re hearing from recruits or any great resources on creating an exceptional workplace for your people.

To learn more about the power of workplace, connect with Alissa on LinkedIn, send her an email or tweet us at @helixKC and @AlissaMay. To learn more about TeamKC: Life+Talent, contact Jessica Nelson.

For some additional reading check our MetroWireMedia‘s article, “Three ways to give your workplace a competitive edge” and Thinking Bigger‘s article, “A better workplace can help you attract the best workers.”


Preserving Kansas City’s historic landmarks for future generations

Since its founding in 1974, Historic Kansas City (HKC) has been the only greater Kansas City nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the area’s heritage, neighborhoods and historic built environment.

Last night at their annual Preservation Awards ceremony, HKC celebrated the people – developers, building owners, architects and preservationists – that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in historic preservation across our city. Three Helix clients, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the owners of the Brass on Baltimore and the General Services Administration were among those honored for their preservation and reinvestment in significant landmark buildings.

Preserving these structures for future generations retains an important piece of our history and  identity as a city. It was an honor to work alongside the leaders at each of these organizations to breathe new life into these monumental buildings.

Kansas City Police Department Headquarters Renovation & Expansion | Excellence Award | Innovation
The renovation and expansion of the Kansas City Police Headquarters re-positions the facility, originally built in 1938, for another 70 years of service to the community while respecting the character of the historic 100,000-square-foot structure. This included a full renovation of the historic structure for modern police use, as well as a significant investment on the ground floor to increase transparency and improve police interaction with the community.

KCPD Before + After

Helix’s design of the community room addition takes cues from the existing Art Deco headquarters and adjacent Brutal­ist Municipal Court buildings. The Art Deco pattern of the concrete roof structure is found throughout the original Police Headquarters in both ornamental and functional roles.

KCPD Ceiling Inspiration

 

Brass on Baltimore | Merit Award | Preservation Practice
The renovation of the historic Kansas City Club building at 13th and Baltimore in downtown Kansas City restored the buildings historic character while inserting modern amenities. Recently renamed the “Brass on Baltimore”, the building houses 67 lofts and 9 unique event spaces across 15-floors. Appearing on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic building is a stunning example of elaborate, gothic Tudor detailing and old-world craftsmanship.

Brass on Baltimore Before + After

Built in 1920, the 15-story building was originally built as the home of the Kansas City Club, a private gentlemen’s club established in 1882. Helix’s renovation of the luxury event spaces on the 1st-6th floors, included restoration and updates to the original grand lobby, Press Room, Tudor Room, Walnut Room, and library. The project also included the complete renovation of the 15th floor, which had been converted to apartments in 2002, and the addition of an outdoor terrace that offers 180-degree views in downtown Kansas City.

Brass on Baltimore Interiors Before + After

 

Richard Bolling Federal Building Modernization | Excellence Award | Contemporary Design in a Historic Context
Encompassing two full city blocks in the government district of downtown Kansas City, the 18-story Richard Bolling Federal Building is a landmark on the city skyline. Built during the Great Society period in the early 1960’s, the tower stretches East and West across the two-block site, interrupting Cherry Street in the downtown street grid. At more than 1.2-million-gross-square-feet it’s one of the largest high-rise office buildings in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Richard Bolling Federal Building Site Before + After

The modernization of the Richard Bolling Federal Building, led by Helix Architecture + Design, GastingerWalker& and JE Dunn Construction, transformed the existing structure into a high-performance building and Class A work environment for 2,800 federal employees while preserving the historic Mid Century architecture. The renovation was completed in 4-phases over 15-years and officially celebrated its re-dedication in November 2015.

Richard Bolling Federal Building Interiors Before + After

Each of these buildings offers a rich history of people that have passed through the front doors – people who shared their workday, their passion for serving their community, their milestones and their celebrations. Thanks to the investment of our clients, people will continue to experience their beauty, their craftsmanship and iconic presence in our community for years to come.

For those of you that love old buildings as much as we do, Historic Kansas City hosts events throughout the year. You can check them out, along with a full list of award winners on their website.


KCU Administration Building Renovation

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

We are excited to announce the completion of another successful project with Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences (KCU). Originally home to the first Children’s Mercy Hospital, the 100-year-old building became part of KCU in the 1970s. Today, the newly renovated building functions as both the Administration Building and campus Welcome Center.

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

KCU Admin Building | Helix Architecture + Design | JE Dunn | Henderson Engineers

Prior to beginning design, Helix led a team of key stakeholders through a series of visioning sessions, in which we were able to define underlying directives for the project, such as: perceived University identity, campus culture, fundamental business drivers, modern day work styles and the desired look and feel for the space.

The building serves over 1,000 KCU students and approximately 70 members of KCU faculty and staff. By opening up the floorplan we were able to make the building easier to navigate, while introducing hospitality areas, progressive workplace solutions, and expanded A/V capabilities to address the evolving needs of students and staff, alike.

By transitioning administrative space to an open office environment the space enhances inter-department communication and improves access for students. This strategic shift in culture also increased shared social spaces directly adjacent to major circulation paths to give an open, welcoming appeal.

KCU_Admin_Building_ImagesThe completion of the Administration Building serves as the kickoff event for KCU’s 2016 Centennial celebration. This preservation and modernization of the building reflects KCU’s past, and celebrates a future of continued collaboration, research and service to the communities it serves.

In line with KCU’s commitment to sustainability, Helix developed a building renovation concept that re-used the existing structure while re-configuring and modernizing the space to better serve the university’s needs. Slated to achieve LEED Silver Certification, the project incorporated high efficiency building systems, improved the indoor environment for building users and repurposed existing materials to the fullest extent possible.

Congratulations to our partners at KCU on this milestone for the university and our project team on a beautiful space that blends academic services and workplace design seamlessly into a historic building!

Images by Michael Robinson Photography


Helix + KCU at SCUP

Helix Architecture + Design and Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) will be presenting the transformational renovation of Weaver Auditorium into the university’s new Academic Center at the SCUP 2016 North Central Symposium on April 27th.

HelixKCUMB_6625_LR

Program: RePurpose / ReEngergize – Creating a New Academic Center at KCU

Every higher education institution is dealing with the challenges of having existing buildings that are not designed to accommodate the way that millennials (and Gen Z following them) want to learn and connect with their peers. Because of this, many of these buildings are substantially underutilized.

HelixKCUMB-2_054_LR

HelixKCUMB-2_153_LR

The Academic Center at KCU took an existing building with a large 1,500-seat auditorium and transformed it into a state-of-the-art learning facility and hub for student activity. The design team developed the innovative concept of stacking two lecture halls within the footprint of the existing auditorium.

The lobby and back-of-house auditorium spaces were converted into flexible student break-out and study rooms. This resourceful solution saved nearly a third of what it might otherwise cost to build a new facility and achieved LEED Silver Certification due in part to repurposing of 90% of the materials from the site’s previous building, Weaver Auditorium.

HelixKCUMB_6685_LR

The project was one of multiple identified in the University’s master plan, which was initiated in 2012. The design principles expressed in this master plan are based on a qualitative approach that synthesizes interviews, the aspirations and the goals of KCU with a critical assessment of their current space planning needs.

SPEAKERS:

Helix principal Reeves Wiedeman and project architect Miranda Groth will be co-presenting alongside KCU CFO/CEO Joe Massman and Director of Capital Projects, Tim Saxe on the success.

Reeves Wideman + Miranda Groth

Reeves W. Wiedeman, FAIA
Founding Principal
Helix Architecture + Design

As a founding principal of Helix, Reeves Wiedeman has been a driving force behind the firm’s success across a diverse, award-winning portfolio of work that spans academic, civic, cultural, workplace, hospitality and residential markets. As a market leader for Helix’s higher education clients, Reeves has led all of the firm’s projects for KCU as well as other academic institutions throughout the region. Reeves is an alumnus of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. His commitment to design excellence and advancement of the profession is evident in his continued involvement with the American Institute of Architects and his selection for Fellowship Status.

Miranda Groth, AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager
Helix Architecture + Design

During her career at Helix, Miranda has managed nearly 150,000 square feet of projects for Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, including the complex adaptive reuse of Weaver Auditorium into the new KCU Academic Center. The project recently received an AIA Central State Design Excellence Award for its ingenuity in repurposing an underutilized structure into an educational hub on the KCU campus. Her methodical project management approach has consistently resulted in her projects being completed under budget and within schedule. Miranda has a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Joe Massman and Tim Saxe

Joe Massman, MBA
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences

Joe Massman is chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, where he is responsible for most of its non-academic functions including finance, human resources, compliance, information technology, facilities and campus operations. Prior to joining the field of higher education, Joe was the founder and CEO of the ETF Store, a retail investment advisory firm. Previously, he served as CFO at Freightquote.com and held other senior financial positions with Express.com in Los Angeles, Viacom, Inc., in New York, and KPMG LLP in Kansas City. Joe earned a bachelor of business administration from the University of Notre Dame and a master of business administration from New York University.

Tim Saxe, PE
Director of Capital Projects
Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences

Tim provides leadership for the planning, design, construction, and financial performance of capital improvement projects for the University.  Prior to his role at KCU, Tim enjoyed a diverse 15-year career in both design, as an architect and structural engineer at HNTB, and then in construction management, as Project Manager and Knowledge Manager at JE Dunn Construction.  A majority of Tim’s experience is on large scale projects on University campuses.  Tim graduated from the Missouri University of Science & Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and completed graduate studies in Architectural Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University.

JOIN US!

We’d love to see you at the SCUP 2016 North Central Symposium in Omaha, NE. The conference takes place on April 27th, so register soon! 


Boulevard Brewing Announces New Visitor Center

Helix could not be more thrilled to share the news that we are working with Boulevard Brewing Co. on the design of their new Visitor Center. “We’re honored by the chance to work with one of Kansas City’s most cherished companies,” said Jay Tomlinson, principal with Helix.

Boulevard Brewery Visitor Center Rendering

When Boulevard opened its doors in 1989 it began welcoming those interested in touring its brewery and tasting its beers. For years the company offered just one tour a week, often attracting 15 or 20 people. As the company grew in size and stature, so did demand for its tours, recently ranked by national publications as among the best in the country. In 2015, Boulevard hosted almost 60,000 visitors on some 2,300 tours, turning away thousands more due to lack of space. “People tell me it’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem,” said Jeff Krum, Boulevard’s vice president of corporate affairs. “Now we think we’ve found a solution.”

As the company announced in a press release this morning, they recently acquired a four-story building at 2534 Madison, immediately adjacent to the brewery campus. The two lower levels of the red brick structure, built for the Skelly Oil Company in 1929, are being converted into a spacious visitor center. The first floor will consist of an “Experience” area with exhibits about beer and Boulevard, an expanded retail shop and a much larger tasting room. The 10,000 square foot second floor will be devoted to a Beer Hall featuring the brewery’s beers and offering a limited selection of food.

Boulevard Brewery Visitor Center Entry Rendering

“It’s humbling to see lines of people waiting for a chance to tour the brewery, and we’re proud of what we’ve done with limited space,” said Amber Ayres, Boulevard’s Director of Tours and Recreation. “But we’re really excited by this opportunity to re-imagine and radically enhance the experience. We hope it will become a destination for locals and visitors alike.”

The Helix team has been working closely with Boulevard to bring their vision to life. “The Boulevard team has an amazing vision for the experience they want to create,” said Alissa Wehmueller, director of interiors for Helix. “There’s a true sense of excitement and pride throughout our office that we have the opportunity to help create such a special spot for KC.”

Boulevard anticipates a grand opening by the end of June. More details will be posted on the company’s website as they become available.

Special thanks to our Helix team members that have been working to make this project a reality – Erin Stork for her talent in creating places that people love to gather, Cale Sadowski for his diligence in seeing every detail through completion and Annie Nutsch for our beautiful renderings.

We can’t wait to share that first “cheers” from the new space overlooking the brewery and our favorite city!


Kansas City Urban Hero Award

Each year the Downtown Council’s Urban Hero Awards recognize a select group of individuals who have had a significant impact on downtown Kansas City. This year Helix principal, Jay Tomlinson was recognized for his longstanding commitment to downtown, not only through his work but also his ongoing involvement with civic, arts and community organizations.

TOMLINSON Jay

As a downtown resident, Jay is a passionate advocate for the vibrant, walk-able experience that living in the Crossroads Arts District offers. His daily commute is approximately two-hundred steps – hard to beat!

DT Images 2

As an architect and business owner, Jay has worked downtown for over 30 years. His work with visionary clients who, like him, are committed to the continued vitality of the urban core has resulted in the renovation, restoration and adaptive reuse of over fifty buildings in downtown Kansas City. Many of these are notable landmarks, such as the Midland Theatre, the Webster House and Missouri Bank’s Crossroads Branch on Southwest Trafficway.

DT Images

Jay’s passion for downtown is equally matched by his commitment to supporting the arts. He has served as a board member for the Kansas City Art Institute, president and board member of the Charlotte Street Foundation and president of the Friends of Art of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. He also co-founded the Urban Society of Kansas City and is past-president of the American Institute of Architects, Kansas City Chapter. He has held numerous civic board memberships and recently served on the Kansas City Mayor’s Economic Development Committee Advance KC and the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts.

Other Urban Hero Award honorees for 2015 include Tysie McDowell-Ray and Dean Johnson of Crossroads Academy Kansas City, Leonard Graham of Taliferro & Brown and Harry Murphy of Harry’s Country Club.

Congratulations to all of the Urban Hero honorees. Your leadership inspires us all to continue the momentum that you have created and help make Kansas City a better place.


5 January, 2016 | Press

2015 Year in Review

It’s been a great year to be a Kansas Citian. We are incredibly proud of the milestones that our city, our clients, our projects and our staff have accomplished over the last year. Here’s a peek at some of the highlights….
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We can’t wait to see what 2016 has is store!

 


New Architects | New Dads

Remember when we previously mentioned that our architects are multiplying?  We really weren’t joking!  Not only did five of our employees pass their respective licensing exams this year, but two of them were lucky enough to experience the birth of their first child. In 2015, both Mark Neibling and Jim Kersten became licensed architects and new dads. We typically use this opportunity to have a Q&A session with our newly licensed staff members, and this occasion was no exception. However, given this unique coincidence, we thought this would be a great opportunity for a game of “Who Said It? Mark vs. Jim”.  But before we quiz you, it may be best to give you a little background on each:

mark and jim

Mark Neibling :
Mr. Calm, cool and under control. We can always count on Mark to have advice on bicycles, take pictures of cranes, and be nit-picky about details. He also loves a good diagram.

Mark has spent a significant portion of his career at Helix working on the design and construction administration of the award-winning KCMO Police Headquarters. His creativity, knowledge of building materials, and meticulous care for detail has been to thank for the numerous awards and honors the project has received.

Loves: His Bicycle.

Most memorable Helix moment:
“Ushering a great project from inception to completion.

Working with a great project team; a group that could argue with each other really well.”

 

Jim Kersten :
He’s been known to introduce himself with a full-on pecha kucha. Jim can often be seen at Helix, commanding the ping-pong table in orange tennis shoes. Or at the Richard Bolling Federal Building with a hard hat and official name badge. 

At Helix, Jim has been responsible for leading construction administration for the final phases of the Federal Building renovation. His resume also includes projects such as the Bryan Cave offices and the historic renovation of the Lowe and Campbell Building.

Loves: National Parks

Most memorable Helix moment:
Probably the day the Great Seal was installed at the Federal building. That was a very complex project, but it turned out very impressive and as a bonus I learned a lot about the history of the Great Seal of the United States.” 

Mark-V-Jim-graphic-2a

YOUR SCORE:  

Your Ranking:  

 


Before our Q&A session concluded, we asked both Mark and Jim for some final, encouraging words.

Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?
JIM:
Just take one test at a time and eventually, after many hard years, you’ll get there.
MARK: Schedule your next test before you take your current test. Get it done. Now. Life does not slow-down

Q: Any words of encouragement for new dads?
JIM: Everyone always talks about the late nights, the lack of sleep, the worrying, but taking care of a little baby is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable things I’ve ever done. I have literally enjoyed every day with my boy.
MARK: Be supportive and kind to your wife. Always.

We are always looking for a good excuse to celebrate, and this year did not disappoint. We hope you had as much fun learning about our newly licensed architects and fathers. Congratulations to you both!  

  

 


16 December, 2015 | Collaboration, Community Outreach, Culture

The Bud Prize

Award Recipients3

Every fall, Helix teams up with the UMKC Department of Architecture and Urban Planning for The Bud Prize – an annual design competition and scholarship opportunity for second year students. The scholarship was created in honor of the late Bud Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix. The fund is intended to recognize the life and work of Bud Persons by promoting the study and knowledge of architecture and design through a scholarship grant awarded to students attending UMKC. In celebration, Helix joins the students and faculty, along with their families and friends, for a reception and award ceremony.

This year, the assignment was to design a community art center, located at Manheim & Troost in Kansas City, MO. The program required that the community center include classrooms, private studios, administrative offices, and support spaces, as well as a retail art gallery and outdoor work area. The program also challenged students to think beyond designing a space that was both pleasing and functional. Students were required to think about the context of their design as it relates to its impact in the surrounding community – much like architecture, design, and urban planning in the real world. We are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s scholarship:

First Place: Olivia Ashbrook
Second Place: Lauren Silvers
Honorable Mention: Sam Green


Congratulations to all the students for their hard work!

To read more about the winning projects, check out UMKC’s blog post about this year’s Bud Prize.
(Award Recipients pictured above from left to right: Olivia Ashbrook, Sam Green, Lauren Silvers)


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