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Study recommends tripling size of fire station

Report details problems with Clintonville Fire Department building

By Bert Lehman

A facilities study conducted by Barrientos Design & Consulting of Milwaukee concluded the Clintonville Fire Department needs a building with more space.

According to the facilities study, the portion of the building that houses Clintonville City Hall is in good condition, only needing accessibility issues to be addressed.

The same cannot be said for the portion of the building that houses the Clintonville Fire Department.

Firefighting gear is stored among the vehicles at Clintonville’s fire station.
Photo courtesy of Clintonville Fire Department

“[T]his building is in much worse condition including concerns with ADA, lack of toilet rooms, a kitchen that does not meet codes, lack of storage and undersized apparatus bays,” the study states. “The primary concern with the fire department however is not the repair costs, it is that the department lacks essential building functions and does not have the room to accommodate these functions on the current site.”

The study estimates the cost to build a new fire station that meets the space needs would be around $5.2 million.

The study recommends that the ideal space for the fire department would be 22,323 square feet.

This amount of space is needed to accommodate items the fire department should have, such as “locker and toilet facilities, decontamination areas, laundry facilities and a dedicated turn-out gear space not directly in the apparatus bay.”

The current building the fire department is housed in is 7,726 square feet.

The report continues: “Other items that were included in the optimal square footage are facilities such as bunk rooms, day rooms, fitness area and other amenities in case the department wishes to become full time in the future. These are spaces that could be planned for in the future and not designed into a new facility for immediate use.”

Clintonville firefighters have little room to maneuver around the fire trucks parked inside the station.
Photo courtesy of Clintonville Fire Department

The limited space available to park fire vehicles is problematic and affecting what vehicles are purchased.

According to the study, the building’s apparatus bays were designed so two trucks could be parked per bay in a pull-through garage setup. This has become an issue over time as the length of fire trucks have increased.

“Due to space constraints, the last vehicle that the department ordered was shorter than they would have liked. This will also be an issue for the next vehicle that they plan on ordering,” the study states.

The training space could also be doubled, the study states. Training is currently done off-site.

In addition to space concerns, the building is not equipped with a fire sprinkler system, which the study states is “cause for concern with the significant investment in firefighting equipment the city houses in this building.”

Overall, the steel-framed roof structure that comprises the fire station is in good condition, according to the study. The concrete and masonry walls are also in “mostly good condition.”

Prior to the study, the city had concern that slab control joints were opening up in the apparatus bay.

The study states that was unlikely. The cause of the problem is probably the slab control joint sealant was improperly installed or prepared, or the wrong joint sealant was used.

The apparatus bay is also experiencing some settlement in one corner. There is also step cracking in the exterior block wall, and slab mitigation/tilting of the concrete floor that are a concern, according to the study.

The estimated cost to fix the “critical” items with the city hall and fire department building is $134,200.

Problem areas that should be fixed in the next one to two years amount to an estimated $260,000, while those that can wait five to 10 years amount to about $195,500.

The study recommends the city build a new fire station that meets the department’s needs. A different city department could then use the existing fire department building.

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