Located in the rapidly growing community of College Station, Fire Station No. 6 is sited on the main entry corridor to the City. This 25,000 SF Design-Build facility is a landmark fire station for the City and the fire personnel traveling from departments across the country to one of the nation’s premier fire schools.
To meet the growing needs of the community, the new station was designed to accommodate 3 shifts of 14 fire personnel and house the largest of the department’s apparatus in the five 100’ deep apparatus bays. With an understanding of the need for balance between a home and work atmosphere, we carefully equipped the station with low maintenance, highly durable materials which promise to maintain its aesthetic quality for years. In addition to the bedrooms and bays, the floor plan consists of storage and office spaces, EMS storage room, bunker gear/laundry room, weight room, electrical/communications room, report-writing room, kitchen, dining room, day room, watch room, bathrooms with showers, a community/training room for staff training or community use, and a HAZMAT gear storage room.
One of the challenges of the site were the remnants of a groundwater storage tank foundation, which had been there until the late 1990s. Record drawings, aerial maps and satellite imagery were used to help locate the abandoned infrastructure to ensure that any underground obstructions were cleared for the foundation construction. To address traffic control issues, the project team worked closely with the city’s traffic engineer and others to implement controls for the traffic control signal at University Drive and Tarrow Street.
State-of-the-art equipment was integrated into the design of this station to maximize its function. The custom alerting system ensures efficient notification of emergencies to the personnel, while simultaneously protecting the station by triggering a gas shut off valve to stop the flow of gas to appliances and the grill. Timers are integrated into the exhaust system to allow for clarity of radio signal and ample air exchange within the apparatus bays. Override switches are integrated into the bay door design to ensure that the heating system does not run while the bay doors are open, thus reducing the operating costs of the station.
BRW and the City of College Station celebrated the grand opening of Fire Station No. 6. It’s not every day that we design a project in our own backyard, so you can imagine the excitement and pride we have had seeing this project come to life. The City of College Station likes to “do it up right;” so the ceremony appropriately opened with a performance by the College Station Fire Department’s Pipes and Drums. Instead of the standard ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Nancy Berry responded to the “first call” and officially opened the building by sliding down the new fire pole and driving the fire engine straight through the ribbon. The festivities then continued as the station’s personnel broke in their new kitchen and BBQ grill by cooking enough hot dogs and hamburgers for the entire community. There is nothing like testing the equipment and their cooking skills the first day on the job.
Station No. 6 is one of BRW’s largest fire stations to date. Situated in the heart of Bryan/College Station, the new station will serve the University Drive corridor as well as the Texas A&M University campus. The facility’s modern look was designed to fit within the surrounding commercial district while embracing the strict design criteria of the city. Because the site was so restrictive, the large station sits very close to one of the most heavily trafficked roads in Bryan/College Station. To help create a buffer in the small setback, BRW incorporated a “time line plaza,” water feature, and landscaping to soften the buildings presence at a pedestrian level. A timeline of the department’s history was created by engraving the bricks of the plaza with the names of all past employees and volunteers. Just inside the reminiscent hose tower, the station features a historical memorabilia area and a multi-purpose room which is most commonly used for departmental training, but it is also available for use by the community. The remainder of the first floor consists of: a report writing room that doubles as a backup 9-1-1 emergency dispatch center, administrative offices, a 14-person dayroom, a kitchen we would all want to have in our own home, a dining room, and weight room facilities. Five 100 foot deep bays house the Fire apparatus, a Hazmat truck and trailer, EMS Vehicles, and water rescue units. The bays are flanked on each side by support spaces such as a decontamination room, Hazmat and EMS storage, and a Bunker room. The second floor is primarily reserved for the private spaces of the fire personnel which include individual sleeping rooms, unisex bathrooms, a laundry room, and a study room that overlooks the apparatus bay. The station is equipped with a state-of-the-art, customizable, alerting system that can be clearly heard throughout the facility. The system has features such as a timer that helps further motivate quick response time, coded LED lights to assist each crew with identifying their specific calls, and individual controls in each bedroom so that staff members will only be awakened when their crew is called. Last, but not least, no fire station would be complete without a fire pole, so this large station appropriately has two.
As always, designing and constructing fire stations is an exciting process, filled with opportunities to grow and learn with each new project. This project’s dynamic and cooperative team of architects, contractors, and clients worked well together to tackle issues as they arose resulting in an overall pleasurable experience. Together, the project team made sure that the facility was not only finished on time, but also of the highest construction quality. As exciting as it is to see this project complete, it is a little bitter sweet to say so-long to something that has consumed so many of my thoughts for the past several months. Luckily for me, when I’m feeling nostalgic, all I have to do is simply drive by on my way home from work.
All photos courtesy of the City of College Station: To see more click here.
POSTED BY: DIANNE JONES