Fire stations of the world: White Street Fire Station, Springfield, Massachusetts, US
White Street First Station 3 in Springfield, Massachusetts, US, completed in 2010, was the first new municipal building constructed in Springfield since 2001. The objective was to consolidate the city's two oldest stations, built in 1894 and 1925. The site for the new Station 3 was selected after reviewing response time data and current and projected city development. White Street Station 3 provides fire and first response services to four neighbourhoods and approximately 36 000 combined residents and businesses in a three-mile radius. Sustainability and contextual design served as primary design lenses for the new replacement station. Achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold, Station 3 features a 24-hour watch room, a turn-out gear room with 40 lockers, a training/conference room, kitchen, dining room, day room, fitness area, eight dorm rooms and offices. The small, .42 acre site required a three-storey design with three pull-through apparatus bays. The total floor space across all floors is 16 200 square foot. The total building cost was $5 287 020.
This site created an additional challenge of fitting the station within a historic neighbourhood of two-storey homes. To fit the context and scale of the neighbourhood, the design uses Victorian elements, including roof dormers, a brick base, painted siding and dimensional shingles.
LEED building highlights include: a 22 percent reduction in energy costs, 40 percent reduction in water use, 95 percent construction waste diversion rate, 29 percent of materials contain recycled content, 24 percent of materials used were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the project.
CR Architecture and Design led the design in partnership with Dore and Whittier Architects as the local representative. The City of Springfield provided project management for design, construction and LEED. The team designed a solution that met the client’s main directives: construct a 50-year building that is energy efficient and as ‘green as possible,’ minimise construction impacts on the neighbourhood and provide an asset that will be key to the community’s revitalisation efforts. Fire Station #3 became the City's first LEED-certified building and the Northeast USA's first LEED-Gold fire station.
The building was dedicated in a public ceremony in October 2010. Fire fighters, city officials and a spirited Dalmatian named Tiller came together to close the century-old firehouse on Oakland Street and open the new, state-of-the-art station on White Street. The transition began at decommissioning service for Station 3 at Oakland Street, marking the closing of city's oldest firehouses. The two-storey brick structure was opened in 1894, when the Springfield Fire Department rode horse-drawn vehicles to fires.
Mayor Domenic Sarno said the station was not only crucial for public safety but huge fire trucks were magnets for neighbourhood kids. As a child, Sarno and his grandmother would stop by station on their way to pick wild mushrooms in Forest Park, the mayor said. "I would get to sit on the truck," he said. Recalling the station's 100-plus years of operation, Sarno added, "There's a lot of history here; of saving people's lives; of saving structures and of camaraderie."
Following comments from Fire Commissioner Gary Casanelli and the lowering of the station house flag, a procession led by a horse-drawn fire wagon and the city's last vintage hook and ladder truck made its way to the White Street station for the ribbon-cutting ceremony there.
Giving the parade a Disney-like touch, the department's mascot, Tiller, a one-year-old Dalmatian, sat atop the fire wagon as it rolled through the Forest Park neighbourhood. The horses, Mark and Iceman, both Belgians, were provided by Blue Star Equiculture, a Palmer-based horse rescue organisation. At White Street, the Dalmatian briefly stole the show. After Casanelli thanked the crowd of more than 100 for coming, Tiller barked a response from the back of the garage. "He comes into my office every day," Casanneli said, to laughter.
The first grade class at the White Street Elementary School led the crowd in a Pledge of Allegiance and sang two songs during the ceremony.
The speakers, including Sarno, Casanelli and Rita Cuppola -Wallace, the city's capital asset construction director, said the new station reflects the city's commitment to improving facilities and services despite the harsh financial climate. The service was attended by retired fire fighters, including Robert Rossmeisl, who worked out of the Oakland Street station and drove Ladder 3, the 100-foot-long truck that is being retired along with the station. Asked about the difficulty of piloting the barge-like vehicle through traffic jams or on ice or snow-coated roads, Rossmeisl responded, "It wasn't too bad. You have to use your mirrors."
Sources: Mass Live, Dore and Whittier and CR architecture and design