Preliminary designs for new fire stations unveiled

  • Thursday, January 31, 2013

Two birds eye views of the new headquarters station from two angles.

Plans for Goose Creek’s new fire station headquarters show it will be one of the city’s largest public buildings.
The station will be on about five acres of land on the east side of North Goose Creek Boulevard, on the other side of Brandywine Boulevard from the city’s public works building.
The current headquarters station on Brandywine Boulevard has become outdated.
Architect Herman Denzinger of Thomas & Denzinger spoke to Goose Creek City Council at a workshop on Jan. 22 at the council chambers.
Denzinger said it’s not only a fire station but also an inspection center and training facility that has bunkrooms and office spaces on the second floor. There are plans for a kitchen area, outdoor dining area and an exercise room.
The two bunkrooms have four beds each, Denzinger said. Each captain will have an office, desk, closet and storage room. There are plans for large windows and an interior courtyard arch that will bring in natural light.
“You want as much natural light as possible,” Denzinger said. “Light is the biggest use of power in a building.”
“I really like the way that looks with a courtyard arch,” Mayor Michael Heitzler said. “You break up the lines and arch them out. I think you’re a genius.”
Councilmember Franklin Moore asked how many fire engines the new headquarters is set to hold.
“The same as Station One now,” Goose Creek Fire Chief Steve Chapman said.
“What if you want to add another engine?” Moore asked.
“We don’t plan to there,” the chief said. “We would like to eventually separate our rescue trucks and our engineer trucks. There is room to expand. I don’t think we’ll add another station company. It can hold eight large vehicles.
“It will hold everything we have now and two more large vehicles we expect in the future.”
Moore asked if there would be a fire pole.
Chapman said he discussed that with insurance experts and said it is a sore spot for insurance companies. He added that he visited several stations in coastal South Carolina, Florida and even Arizona. The Isle of Palms fire stations have poles.
“They said it was kind of a novelty at first,” Chapman said. “Now they don’t use it. We made a conscious decision not to have one.”
Mayor pro-tem Kimo Esarey asked if the arched design would cost extra, and if so how much.
“It’s hard to say,” Denzinger said. “It’s similar to either buildings we’ve done. In the long run it pays for itself. It’s a visible building.”
The firm also designed the Marguerite H. Brown Municipal Center and the fire substation in Crowfield.
Moore said the design sets the stage for the city of the future.
The cost, based on preliminary drawings, is still being analyzed, Paulette Myers of Thomas & Denzinger said.
“It’s a series of rectangles, but shifted,” she said. “There are more exterior walls. Glass costs money. This might change as we go forward.”
Denzinger also went over preliminary plans for Station Three, a substation that will be located off Old Mt. Holly Road near St. James Avenue. He said this station functions only as a fire station and is staffed by fewer people. It too is a two-story building.
Chapman said he does not see the need for expansion at this station once it is complete.
“If we annex further up Hwy. 52 we could need another substation there. This should stay a one-engine company for some time.”
Councilmember Jerry Tekac asked about timeframes.
Myers said it would be August until the firm can calculate the cost of all the systems that will go in the buildings and could take bids as early as October and begin construction in November.
Both stations would take about a year and a half to build, Myers said, adding that the stations would be complete by March 2015 at the earliest. “Both stations are planned to open at the same time.”
“I love the way they look,” Heitzler said. “I think the people of Goose Creek deserve it. They’ve come a long way.”
Chapman said he’s been planning the new station for five years. In that time he’s read everything there is to read about building a fire station, he said. He also went to a class on the subject and talked to firefighters, many who have moved to the area from other states, about what works and what does not.
“We’ve tried to plan this station for future growth,” Chapman said. “It’s designed to last 40 years.”
He said everything in the current fire station was measured and planned to fit into the designs of the new station. “I don’t know of any space in the station we can cut without cutting into our operational efficiency,” Chapman said.

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