If you often drive through the Sunrise Heights/Gatewood areas, you’ve seen the Seattle Fire Department‘s new Fire Station 37 taking shape over the past year at 35th/Holden (map) – and now, it’s about a month away from completion. After watching its progress day by day, we asked for a sneak-peek inside – and got the chance on Monday afternoon. Our guides: Project manager Teresa Rodriguez, architect Brad Miller from Miller Hayashi Architects, and construction-team leader Elliott Blom from Kirtley-Cole Associates:
Among the sights at the levy-funded project site: A deck with a view of Mount Rainier!
But that space isn’t just a deck – it’s got something you might not expect to find at a fire station – read on for that, and the rest of the tour (UPDATED 11:14 PM WITH PHOTO OF SCULPTURE THAT ARRIVED TODAY):
The deck – last stop on our tour, which we slightly curtailed after reports of the Monday afternoon power outage started coming in right after we got up there – holds part of what’s the station’s future “green roof“:
The green roof is part of what’s expected to get the new Station 37 a LEED Silver certification, the project team says. (The station also has an old-fashioned “hose tower,” more energy-efficient than mechanically drying the hoses.) As part of the deck’s “green” space, there’ll be a kitchen garden for the firefighters. And the garden won’t be far from the new kitchen itself:
While the kitchen and rec room are upstairs, the sleeping quarters are downstairs. Rodriguez said that for every new fire station built with Fire Levy money, the teams were given the choice of whether they wanted to “sleep up or down” – and the Station 37 team chose “down.” There are small one-person sleeping rooms downstairs, rather than a group bunk area. Plus, the ranking officer’s suite:
But let’s get back out into the area where you’ll find the firefighting equipment, once the station’s occupied:
New fire stations all have uniform apparatus-bay sizes, we were told – 67 feet long, 20 feet wide. But then there are the touches like this one’s use of natural light – both from the skylights above, the rollup doors, and also the lower windows along 35th:
That also, Miller explained, will allow people walking by to see into the station, as will the windows on the entrance side along SW Holden, in a so-called “jewel box” effect. Another big difference between old stations and new stations – cleaning equipment separating the “dirty” – as in, just got back from the scene – area and “clean” – as in, sleeping and eating – areas (“old stations pre-dated the awareness of contaminants,” Miller explained):
That’s a sink in an area where firefighters will be able to clean off themselves and their gear – a shower is nearby too, as is an industrial-strength “washer extractor” to wash gear, separate from the “residential laundry” elsewhere in the station – before leaving the apparatus bays. Inside those bays is also where they will wash off the trucks:
That drain will go into the sewer system, ending the old-school ways of washing the truck right out front, with the water going into the storm drains and on into Puget Sound. Another environmental touch – attachments like these, to vent exhaust:
One more data point: This is the first fire station that Miller-Hayashi has designed (see their renderings and models here). The date for its dedication has not been set yet, according to Rodriguez. In the meantime, the old Station 37 a few blocks north remains in service, as the city proceeds with plans to sell it (here’s our story from last month). But there’s a little reminder of the old station at the new one – look back up at that photo of the project-team trio – the cedar paneling they’re standing in front of is in the rec room, and it’s deliberately meant as an echo of the cedar inside the historic station that’ll soon see its last call.
ADDED 11:16 PM: Thanks to Michael Oxman for sharing this photo of the Station 37 sculpture that arrived today (wasn’t mentioned during our tour a day earlier but as we noted, we had to bolt for breaking news, or else maybe we’d have found out):
We reported here three years ago that Northwest artist Pete Beeman had been commissioned for the project – but had never been able to wrangle an advance look at what he’d decided to create.