This facility received the Volunteer/Combination Silver Award in the 2021 Firehouse Station Design Awards. Find the full list of winners here.
Albert Lea, MN, Fire Rescue’s new 25,690-square-foot fire hall was begun in early 2018. The goal of the project was to provide a facility that enhanced department efficiency, included the latest safety standards and accommodated future growth. The result was a new precast fire and rescue facility that includes 12 20-foot-wide apparatus bays, a 1,200-square-foot training room, an emergency operations center that includes an ICC 500-rated storm shelter, a combination hose drying/training tower and a negatively pressurized SCBA room. Also included are offices, second-floor living quarters for six full-time firefighters, a fitness room, locker rooms and laundry facilities.
Color-changing LED lighting illuminates the facility’s exterior façade to allow for the potential to alert nearby patrons of departing apparatus as well as for various colors to be displayed throughout the year (i.e. Cancer Awareness Month, National Safety Month, etc.).
After evaluating several sites, the ultimate site was selected based on its central location within the city, but it came with multiple challenges. Numerous residential properties were acquired and demolished by the city prior to construction. Geotechnical testing revealed that the soils that were on the property were inadequate for constructing a large facility. This obstacle was overcome by using rigid inclusions (similar to helical piers) to provide the soil-bearing capacity that was required for the structure. Another challenge was the existing contours of the site. This required extensive regrading as well as the installation of a 14-foot retaining wall, to allow for a more level buildable area.
Construction was completed in July of 2020, and the station has proven to be a valuable asset to Albert Lea Fire & Rescue and the community that it serves.
Architect/Firm Name: Brunton Architects & Engineers