A much-anticipated new fire station in Denver’s Lowry neighborhood, designated as Fire Station 18, moved into the construction phase with an early May groundbreaking led by Denver city officials.
Attending the ceremony were Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver City Council President Mary Beth Susman, Manager of Safety Justice Alex Martinez, Denver Fire Department Chief Eric Tade, and Better Denver Bond Implementation Manager George Delaney of Denver Public Works.
The voter-approved 2007 Better Denver Bond provided approximately $8 million for the land acquisition, construction and fire-fighting equipment purchases for the new fire station being built at Alameda Avenue and Xenia Street (between Monaco and Havana streets). The new station will help the Denver Fire Dept. meet standard response times in this area by bringing additional fire-fighting capability into Lowry.
The improved response times will help the fire department improve its fire-risk rating, which positively affects insurance rates. Response times into Windsor Gardens will go down to two minutes once the new station is complete, compared to the approximately six and a half minutes experienced with existing stations located farther away. The new station will also help provide back-up support on the east side of Denver.
“The service and commitment of our firefighters cannot be understated, whether they are fighting fires, providing emergency medical assistance or educating homeowners and neighbors about safety,” said Mayor Michael Hancock. “Our fire department is world class, and having this new station will allow our first responders faster times when answering emergencies and supporting the surrounding neighborhoods. We owe a big thanks to the citizens who voted to improve our city and our safety through the Better Denver Bonds [program].”
Denver City Council President Mary Beth Susman, Council District Five, said “the new station will enable faster response times in this part of our district because a contingent of brave firefighters will be stationed here among us.” She credited the interest of various neighborhood and community groups, as well as her predecessor, former Councilwoman Marcia Johnson, for being persistent in advocating for the new fire station.
Susman lauded the aesthetically pleasing and environmentally efficient design of the one-story, 12,000-sq-ft station. “We care about Denver and want to ensure that it is a safe, smart and attractive place to live and work. The architectural renderings show this will be a handsome anchor in the area, with the added benefit of being built-green.”
The building incorporates environmentally sustainable approaches to conserve resources and save energy, in keeping with the city’s sustainability goals. Green-building features include a ground-source heat pump system to provide energy-efficient heating, cooling and ventilation for the building; added insulation, low-flow plumbing fixtures; the use of recycled-content, low-emitting materials; daylighting and solar-tube skylights to reduce electrical use, and low-water use landscaping. The new building is pursuing LEED-Silver certification.
Denver Manager of Safety Justice Alex Martinez oversees the city’s public safety agencies that deliver Denver’s full spectrum of safety services: prevention and intervention, emergency response, enforcement and investigation, and alternative corrections. Martinez said that the new fire station is not only an investment in Lowry and its surrounding communities but also an investment in Denver’s emergency response services as a whole, since the Dept. of Safety’s agencies work closely to coordinate response and leverage cross-department successes to maximize service delivery.
Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade gave the gathering an overview of the various features of the new station, which is located on a little more than 1.5 acres of land and will be a “drive-through” building, allowing for better maneuvering of trucks and equipment in and out of the station. The Xenia-Alameda intersection will be signalized to provide safe in-out movements of fire trucks and to improve pedestrian and vehicle travel in this location. The station will have an apparatus bay to house state-of-the-art firefighting equipment to include a new fire truck with 15,000 gallon-per-minute hose-flow capacity, an onboard foam system to fight chemical or electrical fires, an advanced braking system and stability control to minimize truck roll-overs.
The station will have areas where crews can train for high-rise firefighting, search and rescue, and confined space rescue. “The training facilities at Station 18 will help our firefighters to be even better prepared, which benefits everyone,” said Chief Tade. It will include a room for fire-fighting training classes, which will also be available for community meeting use.
As part of the Public Art Program administered by Arts and Venues Denver, when complete, the new station will feature an art piece called “Traditions.” It will be incorporated as a terra-cotta bas-relief into the fire station’s façade. Created by artist Barry Rose, the piece celebrates the contributions of firefighters throughout Denver history and depicts a modern firefighter, historic figures and a horse-drawn wagon being pulled from the former old Fire-Station 18, now a police substation in City Park.
Denver Public Works is providing project management for the facility by working closely with the Denver Fire Department. Oz Architecture designed the new fire station and Mark Young Construction is the contractor. The facility is scheduled for completion in spring 2014.