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
September 11, 2012 was a bittersweet day on South Padre Island. As the city remembered the fire fighters and other fallen heroes of the World Trade Center attacks, they also gathered at 106 West Retama Street to dedicate their new central fire station. The 20,000 square foot building was the long-awaited replacement for the old fire station that had been badly damaged by Hurricane Dolly in 2008.
State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. spoke at the dedication. American and Texas flags were raised for the first time on the station’s flagpole then slowly lowered to half-mast. A steel beam that had been removed from the World Trade Center rubble was on permanent display in the public plaza in front of the station. Chief Burney Baskett said that the beam will be a reminder of “the deadliest day in the history of the United States Fire Service”.
The distinctive form of the three-story building reflects the need for the emergency operations center (EOC) to remain high off the ground and functional during harsh weather conditions as well as the demand for a compact building footprint due to high property values. BRW aimed to provide a building that neither compromised on durability nor stood out as a bunker among the festive buildings on the island. That goal was achieved by a two-part solution. First, a cast-in-place concrete structure with reinforced concrete block infill was designed to provide a tough exterior shell. Second, the upper floors were clad with a warm wood-composite rainscreen system which, during a storm, will equalize air pressure and obstruct driving rain.
POSTED BY: BRIAN GIBBS, AIA