BRW Architects Designs Neighborhood Station on Challenging TX Site

BRW Architects was faced with many site challenges as it designed a new fire station for Flower Mound.

By Alan M. Petrillo

Once BRW Architects received the contract to build a new station for Flower Mound (TX) Fire Department, it faced challenges in terms of siting the new station, sizing the facility, and property drainage issues. However, working with the department and a nearby private school, BRW was able to overcome those challenges and build Flower Mound a new station that met all the department’s needs.

“The site of the new neighborhood station was to be on land of just under an acre that was donated to the city a number of years ago when there were smaller space requirements for fire stations,” says Stephen Hilt, BRW senior director. “The department would have liked a three-bay station on the site, but that was not possible in that space, and putting in drive-through apparatus bays on the new station also was a challenge because the site sloped 12 to 14 feet from the front to the back of the property.”

To solve the problem of the sloping site and give the apparatus enough space to exit the station without bottoming out, Hilt’s design team turned the apparatus bays 90 degrees to the street, allowing them to get the proper grade for exiting, Hilts says. “The station is surrounded by upper middle-class residential housing on three sides, and the Coram Deo Academy to the south,” he notes. “Another challenge was the drainage of the site because there was no storm drainage available, but we were able to get an easement from Coram Deo Academy to get drainage to a nearby creek.”

Photos courtesy of BRW Architects/Ana Larranaga

Eric Greaser, Flower Mound’s chief, says the new Station 7 is in the center of town with direct access into a campground that the town acquired from the Army Corps of Engineers many years ago, and which has since been turned into a high-end campground and marina. “Station 7 is 9,000-square feet, and has two 80-foot long drive-through apparatus bays that currently house an engine and a water rescue vehicle and trailer with two rigid-hull inflatable boats (RIB) on a trailer,” Greaser points out.

Greaser notes that the station has a large kitchen with a center island and stainless steel countertops, a dining area, a back patio with a grilling area, a day room, and a pantry locker with refrigerator and freezer set up for three crews because the department runs on a 24/48 hour schedule. “A bedroom hallway gives access to four dorm rooms with full cubicle walls and lockers, and curtains on the doorways,” Greaser says. “There’s a library off the hallway that can be converted to a fifth dorm room if necessary and a unisex bathroom with toilet, shower, and lavatory.” The captain’s quarters, which consists of a bedroom, office, locker, shower and restroom, is nearby, he adds, as is a fitness facility with weight and cardio equipment.

The center of the new station is set up as an emergency storm shelter that has its own bathroom with shower, toilet, and sink, as well as its own ventilation system to operates off a battery pack inverter from the station’s emergency generator, Greaser points out. A room holding personal protective equipment (PPE) and other turnout gear is nearby.

Greaser says the new station has a Phoenix G2 station alerting system, and off the apparatus bays is a laundry facility with a washer-extractor for cleaning turnout gear, and also a decon room for washing wet and dry suits used in water rescue. The bay doors, front and rear, are Door Engineering bifold doors. Plymovent rails line both ends of the apparatus bays with three drop downs, and an air lock separates the apparatus bays from the crew living quarters, he says.

Hilts notes that the exterior of Flower Mound Station 7 uses a mix of stone and stucco to match the exteriors of many homes in the neighborhood, and the roof is asphalt shingle. “The station has clerestory windows on the north side of the apparatus bays, and the living quarters are at the back of the site,” he says. “We put in terracing with short retaining walls in the back, and custom horizontal 2-by-6 fencing facing the neighbors, and screened the parking area in the same way. We also were able to keep a large legacy tree at the front of the property, as well as other trees on the perimeter of the site, which helps with screening from the neighbors.”

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.

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