Tremendous growth within the past decade pushed the City of Fitchburg to determine a need for a new fire station, allowing for faster response to urgent 911 calls. Our experience with municipal projects, including fire and police stations, and our close proximity to Fitchburg led the project architect to choose raSmith’s structural engineers as teammates.
The fire station’s structural design proved challenging as it needed to incorporate many different functions within the building: Office and training areas were combined with bunk rooms and kitchen facilities, while space was needed for gear storage and locker rooms, plus fire trucks in the garage. Site constraints led to the garage’s front side featuring a unique saw-tooth profile, where the building’s perimeter zigzags with staggered garage doors.
For the garage bay design, the architect wanted the durability of masonry construction and also a band of windows below the roof level. raSmith’s engineers responded with an innovative structural system that uses a steel frame inboard of the masonry to hold up the roof, while tied back to the masonry walls for sheer resistance. This combination of steel and masonry allows the contractor to erect the basic frame quickly, then infill with masonry while interior work is completed.
Photos provided courtesy of Unified Newspaper Group