The design/build team of SMP Design and Turner Construction had just completed a station for the Delhi (OH) Fire Department that got them a lot of accolades in the press when they learned of the Madison Township (OH) Fire Department seeking RFQs to build a new station that would be the third for the fire district. SMP Design got through the RFQ stage, moved on to the RFP process, and ultimately got to interview with the department to present a project proposal.
“We work in a program called Sketch Art for 3D modeling to create a very good artistic rendering of a project,” says Kevin Spector, SMP Design’s chief creative officer. “We used that program to show the department the entire project where we do a three-dimensional helicopter flyover of the outside to spin and twist around the building, and even pull the roof off the rendering to show all the spaces inside the building.” Spector says the presentation earned SMP Design the contract along with Turner Construction on a design/build project basis.
Jeff Fasone, chief of Madison Township Fire, says the department was founded 70 years ago with three stations, one with paid and volunteer firefighters, and the other two all-volunteer. “In 1985, we transitioned from volunteer to all paid and consolidated two stations into a new station 182,” he says. “Eventually, when the levy passed to construct a full-size station 183 for nine firefighters and a new medic truck, we hired SMP Design and Turner Construction to do the job.”
The new station is a one-story structure of 12,500 square feet, with two 80-foot-long, double-deep, drive-through apparatus bays and support spaces on a side wall holding SCBA storage, a decon room, turnout gear storage room, a shop, and a general storage room. A mezzanine contains all of the building’s mechanical equipment.” The support spaces form a buffer between the apparatus bays and the living and administrative spaces,” Spector says. The public spaces are limited to the lobby, and there is a report room adjacent to the lobby, along with two offices, and a conference room.
In the living area, SMP designed a open space dorm room with eight sleeping cubicles separated by seven-foot high walls that allow air flow over the top, lockers in between the sleeping spaces, three individual toiler/shower/vanity rooms, and one ADA-compliant toilet/shower/vanity room. A lieutenant has a dorm room in the same sleeping area, but with an office off of the back of his cubicle. Nearby is a fitness room that has a shower/laundry between it and the dorm rooms, a resource library, a day room, and a kitchen/dining room.
Spector says the structure is a preengineered metal building (PEMB) for its framing that uses large steel girders to perform high distance spanning. “We chose PEMB for its efficiency,” he says. “We wanted a residential scale, and got the efficiency of an industrial frame, but with a residential look. The structure has a pitched metal roof that’s bronze covered, and the exterior of the building has a masonry base with Hardie board fiber cement siding. The interior walls are all non-load-bearing, infill walls.”
Fasone says the department had SMP design a public EMS treatment room off the lobby for walk-in public use. “We have electronic key fob entry to the station,” he says, “and a dozen video monitors on various walls that have access to traffic cameras near the station, link to our other two stations, and also link to Columbus Fire Dispatch. Also, our turnout gear room is fortified to accommodate collapse because of a tornado. It has reinforced concrete around it, and a ventilation system to provide negative pressure.”
Fasone points out, “We now have three stations, 51 full-time paid firefighters, and 17 part-time paid firefighters. The new station cost $3.7 million, and our busiest medic unit runs out of it. The community loves the station and how easily it fits in with the character of the neighborhood.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.