ATU Art Building

Russellville Central Fire Station

Russellville’s Central Fire Station has received national recognition from the firefighting community for its innovation and commitment to its local community. Plans for the station began as early as 2013, and Van Horn Construction worked closely with city leaders and fire department personnel to construct what local residents have named “a building for the community.” VHC had no recordable accidents during this project, which occurred during the period in which the company earned ABC’s Diamond STEP Award. In 2019 this project received ABC's Excellence in Construction Award for Institutional: Public Use $5M to $10M.

 

Project Origin and Community Response

Plans for the City of Russellville’s new Central Fire Station began as early as 2013, when citizens voted to extend a 1-cent sales tax and earmarked $7 million for the construction of a new central station. The city recognized a need for a new fire station to increase operational space and meet ADA compliance needs. The new station will give the department 24,849 square feet of space, which allows for almost 20,000 square feet of additional space from the current facility.

From it’s inception, the project aimed to serve as the flagship building of downtown development in Russellville’s El Paso District. “This was designed to be a big part of the community,” said Fire Marshal Richard Setian. “How it looks, how it fits - we wanted it to be the southern anchor of what El Paso [Avenue] will be in the future. We feel like we accomplished that.”
The City of Russellville selected Jackson Brown Palculict Architects of Little Rock to direct the architectural design of the project, and VHC worked closely with the firm to coordinate processes during the construction phase of the project. The team broke ground on the facility in an outdoor ceremony held on June 20, 2016.

Upon completion of the facility the Russellville Fire Department hosted events to introduce the station to the community. Following one such event, Alderwoman Freddie Harris remarked, “If there is anything the city can be proud of, it is this fire station. It is phenomenal...It is just state of the art. Everything was thought through.”

 

Facility Overview

The City of Russellville desired a station that would improve the training and response capacity of its fire department, and by extension, provide an increased level of safety for its citizens.
The entire station is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that supports the department’s efficiency goals. For example, the gas grill in the station kitchen interfaces with the Computer-Aided Dispatch system that alerts firefighters to calls. Upon the initial call, the gas grill automatically shuts down, saving firefighters precious seconds during their response.

Each of the station’s four floors serves multiple functions. The ground level, or first floor, holds six drive -thru bays (three bays for large pumper and ladder trucks exiting onto El Paso Avenue and three bays for short auxiliary vehicles and reserve pumpers exiting onto West B Street). The public may enter the station lobby on the ground level, where they may view a large waterfall mural by local photographer and former City Engineer, Kurt Jones. The first floor also contains a large training room that may be separated by a partition for classes or training sessions, as well as offices and a break room. The station’s second floor holds the living quarters for firefighters, including sleeping spaces, laundry facilities, a stainless steel kitchen, and a patio and outdoor grill that are adjacent to the day room. This floor also holds a designated fitness area. The highlight of the third floor is a rooftop patio that allows for a view of the City of Russellville and the surrounding area. The Russellville Fire Department hopes that the patio will not only serve as an opportunity to identify potential fires in the area, but may also be utilized by community groups as an outdoor meeting space.

Administration offices are also found on the third floor, as well as an integrated conference room that relays media to the first-floor training rooms. The fourth floor serves as a training space for firefighters and may only be accessed by ladder. The training tower is a unique feature, and it provides firefighters with an opportunity to train with fire protection. Firefighters also have access to a stairwell for practice climbing, as well as repelling options and a standpipe sprinkler system.
The project team conducted comprehensive studies on Russellville’s historical downtown area in order to ensure that the exterior of the station supported the city’s master plan for design and revitalization. The exterior of the building combines masonry and architectural composite metal, and windows are strategically placed to allow light into living and working spaces within the station.

 

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Architectural Experience