Owner: Municipality of Leamington
Location: Leamington, Ontario
Size: 6,750 sf Addition + 3,250 sf Renovations
This exciting project sets out to realize the first major change to the Fire Hall since the existing building was constructed in 1982. The facility acts as the central heart of a department that serves a community of nearly 35,000 citizens covering both urban and rural territory and responding to nearly 400 calls per year. The existing municipal building is shared with other tenants and remains home to the Provincial Courthouse and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) station. The existing site is compact; so careful attention to vehicular movement and expansion options is paramount.
The Fire Department challenged the design team with developing a solution that would address the following high-level goals: maximize functionality; meet current accessibility requirements; enhance circulation; maintain operational priorities; improve energy efficiency and; upgrade security and access. JPT developed the new expansion by listening to and analyzing the Department’s program requirements, facility needs and budget goals. Ultimately, three options were developed including two scenarios which explored the possibility of building a second floor over the existing apparatus bay. While these two schemes addressed most aspects of the municipality’s goals, they created circulation and operational difficulties by; disconnecting reception from other office spaces; increasing walking distances by virtue of the two levels and; separating staff from the apparatus floor. The third option developed an expansion/renovation program utilizing part of the existing floor and increasing a one-storey administration area within the east parking lot. This scheme allowed for all functions to be within close proximity of one another by effectively “wrapping” the existing apparatus floor. All aspects of the Department’s high-level goals have been addressed.
The Clark Street West facade is stretched eastward; providing better solar shading and increasing the visual appearance of the station. A new two-stop elevator provides access from a central lobby for all three tenants and a barrier-free lift relieves all accessibility issues from the bay floor. By adding the elevator, the existing decaying stairs and ramp are replaced with new to provide a new look to the aging entry whilst subtly separating the ingress/egress path of the fire trucks.
Some of the project highlights include: a parking lot and laydown area; a new administration office area with a new main reception/fire hall display area repositioned to face Hazelton Street, staff offices including space for future growth, and a plans examination room; a flexible training room for 48 persons; two breakout rooms; storage space and; a new elevator and lift for all building occupants.