$6 million Orillia Fire Hall designed to LEED Silver standards

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            Traditional appearance combines with state-of-the-art energy savings and disaster-ready construction

GTA Construction Report staff writer

Orillia’s firefighters will have a new $6 million, state of the art fire station by the fall of 2014. The new station, replacing a building never designed as a fire hall, will also house a 911 communications centre, which serves five other municipalities.

Panici Architects designed the 20,000 sq. ft station on 2.65 acres to meet LEED Silver standards.  Greystone Project Management is building the structure and with a 1,500 sq. ft. auxiliary building.

Greystone’s project manager Ben Jardine says the project began in mid-November and that early snow and extreme colds forced a slower-than-expected start but crews on still on schedule.

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The building has been designed to look like a traditional fire station, with brick and stone.  “The city wanted the station to fit into the community which is primarily residential with a school nearby,” Jardine said. “They also wanted it to reflect the city’s historically classic look.”

Special high standards have been applied to ensure the building can function in disaster situations. “We’re not only building beyond code to meet disaster scenarios but have to meet NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) guidelines,” he said.

These guidelines influence room orientation, the amount of natural light, and the kind of glass. “The building needs to be durable to meet emergency and post disaster requirements but it also has to be efficient from an emotional and social side for the firefighters,” says Jardine.

The project earns LEED points through site orientation, construction mitigation, materials selection, energy efficient equipment, natural light, air quality and operable windows.

“Instead of traditional roll top doors the station will be equipped with four vehicle bays with vertical folding doors which take less than half the time to open, creating both time and energy savings,” Jardine says.

“Local materials were used as much as possible both to tie in to the heritage aspect of the design and to support LEED,” he said. “The list of local suppliers and subtrades is long and includes masonry, concrete, structural steel and data communications providers. Others all come from within about 100 km of the city.”

The site also includes a massive 100,000 litre firewater storage tank the department will use to test its equipment.

Jardine says Orillia Fire is a vital service both for the city and the many miles of small surrounding communities it serves. “This new station is well deserved and will ensure the department is able to better serve the region.”

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