By Alan M. Petrillo
Eagle River (CO) Fire Protection District needed to replace a fire station built in the early 1980s as the community it serves continues to grow, with a 30,000-resident population expected to double in the next 20 years and an area of 108 square miles to cover. The district turned to Davis Partnership Architects to design and build the station after securing a $25 million bond for financing.
William Bussard, Davis Partnership principal and project architect, says the 1980s station on the site was demolished, and his team made concessions on the orientation of the new fire station to allow it to fit on the site with the training facility. “We were able to design it so it all functions well together,” Bussard says. “The new Station 12 has four back-in apparatus bays that can accommodate an aerial device, an administrative area adjacent to the apparatus bays, and firefighter living areas on the second floor above the administrative area.”
“We could barely get our engines into the bays in the old station,” says George Wilson, division chief of planning and logistics for Eagle River. “We originally wanted to have the new fire station and administration building separate, with the training facility at a different location,” Wilson says, “but, there are some land constraints in our area, and we were not able to acquire the land for a separate training facility. Davis Partnership worked diligently to redraw the entire vision and fit the station, administration, and training all together on one site, with the administration function on the ground floor of new Station 12 and the training facility adjacent on the site.”
Kyle Hoogewind, senior business development strategist for Davis Partnership, says adjacent to the four apparatus bays Davis designed in bathrooms and mechanical electrical, information technology, and janitorial storage rooms. “We also put in a PPE cleaning room, PPE storage, workshop, SCBA refill room, decon room, and a hose-drying tower.” On the administrative side of the first floor are a regional administrative area with offices for officers and finance staff, as well as a fitness room with two overhead garage doors that lead to an exterior deck.
On the second floor, Hoogewind says, are a kitchen/dining room, day room, a patio overlooking a green space, pantry, five single bunk rooms, two toilet/shower rooms, one toilet/sink room, a laundry room with a stackable washer and dryer, a mezzanine storage area, and a battalion chief’s quarters with a bunk room and toilet/shower room.
Bussard says that Eagle River asked Davis Partnership to design the administrative area so that if a second fire company was needed in the future, the additional crew could be accommodated in that space. “It was designed and built to allow us to have as easy a conversion as possible if needed,” he adds. The two overhead doors in the exercise area “give the space a modern look and allow us to provide fresh air to the staff when they are working out,” Bussard notes, “and the patio off the kitchen area allows firefighters to relax when they are not busy with calls.” Eagle River has 74 paid career firefighters who work 48-hour shifts.
Bussard points out that the Eagle River station and administrative building exterior is brick and Core 10 corrugated metal with exposed steel I-beams and wood planking as the ceilings become the soffets. “The wood ceiling and steel beams run throughout the apparatus bays and on the second level of the station, giving the building a feel of modern mountain architecture because of the exposed materials,” he says. “We put in a lot of windows and glass because the area gets 340 days a year of blue sky and sunlight, so there are mirror image windows front and back as well as clerestory windows front and back to bring in as much natural light as possible.”
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.