New Charlottesville Virginia Fire Station

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New Charlottesville Virginia Fire Station

The station provides primary fire protection for the city of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia and also serves the county of Albemarle in designated response areas. The state of the art facility is 41,000 square feet with 12,000 sq. ft dedicated specifically for training. 

As an inherent design feature, throughout the facility almost every space is intended to be used for multiple purposes, with a focus on training. 

The first priority of the Fontaine Avenue Station is to enhance fire and emergency medical response times to an area of the city that has the longest response time.  the location is closer to the University of Virginia UVA) residential campus and closer to over 1,700 UVA labs.  Additionally the building is designed to serve as the City's Emergency Operations Center (EOC), community meeting place, continuity of government space, back-up fire department dispatch and is equipped with four separate methods of back-up power with two separate fuel sources (natural gas and diesel).  The station will also include a back-up City IT server and has two separate fiber optics feeds to ensure redundancy.  Bi-fold doors are designed to open in 7 seconds or less and fire poles are located at the north and south ends of the building to facilitate the fastest reaction time possible.  The station also includes a state of the art emergency response alerting system.

Operationally, the building supports the regional hazardous materials response team by providing the necessary space for hazmat supplies and equipment.  Also provided is an extractor to wash contaminated protective clothing and a storage room with a separate air handling system to prevent off gassing contamination to the other living spaces within the fire station which will better serve the health and wellness of firefighters.

The station is designed to provide wireless connectivity throughout the building for WiFi, 800 MHz regional public safety radio system, and commercial wireless carriers.  WiFi can accommodate over 200 simultaneous wireless connections.  Each of the spaces is also provided with Cat 6 ethernet connections for redundancy to the wireless network.

Safety devices are installed for the purpose of monitoring hazardous gases, smoke and fire protection.  The systems included are a wet/dry sprinkler system, carbon monoxide detection system, a Carbon Dioxide monitoring system and a heat detection system.  IT rooms are protected by environmental safe extinguishing gases.

From a training standpoint, the Fontaine Station and Training Center includes a totally separate (but connected) 4 story training center which can be used for all fire service training except live fire training.  In addition to fire training, the tower provides the means to perform technical rescue training.  There are also over 100 strategically placed anchors for the purpose of tying off ropes or performing technical rope rescue exercises.  The design includes a lower and upper roof training area to support rappelling and additional technical rescue simulations.  One unique design feature includes two separate vaults (below the garage).  These vaults are connected by three tubes that are 24", 30" and 48" in diameter for the purpose of controlled confined space training.  There are also two training mezzanines which allow for both classroom and technical rescue training on and between floors.  This training design also allows training to be conducted 24 hours/day and 365 days/year.

One exciting characteristic of this building is the partnerships that will add value to how this facility serves the Charlottesville community.  Through a memorandum of understanding, the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad (C-ARS) will house and staff an ambulance and a heavy squad at the Fontaine Station.  For the first time in the city, there will be four UVA student live-ins that will reside in the station to support the C-ARS operation and enhance EMS response times to this area of Charlottesville.  As part of this arrangement, UVA contributed $750,000 toward the construction of the Fontaine Avenue Station and Training Center.

This building is also being built as a sustainable and will be LEED certified. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a standard managed by the U.S. Green Building Council.  There are four levels of LEED and they are certified, silver, gold and platinum. This fire station will receive a gold or platinum LEED certification.  As part of the "green building" designation, the facility includes a 20,000 gallon rain water harvesting tank, utilizes pervious pavers to allow water drainage back into the ground rather than creating runoff, bio filters are located at both sides of the grounds to capture water run off and filtration. A geothermal standing column well system has been installed to take advantage of natural ground water temperatures for heating and cooling the facility.  All of the design features that support a "green" building are based on return on investment evaluation.

As a way to remember the horrific events of 9/11, the Charlottesville Fire Department received a 17 ft. steel beam from the World Trade Center (WTC) North Tower.  The Memorial Steel weighs approximately 4,000 lbs. and originated from between the 80th and 90th floor.  The Memorial Steel is suspended from the ceiling of the Fontaine Fire Station's glass atrium and will forever remember all those that died on 9/11 at the WTC, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA and to honor all of those that sacrificed their lives to save others; among them 343 firefighters. As a unique side story, CFD representatives went to New York City and chose the steel in 2009 (09), brought the steel to Charlottesville in 2011 (11) and the steel was set in its final resting place in 2013 (13).  The combined years gives a date of this year's 9/11...9/11/13.  On this date, the 9/11 Memorial Steel was dedicated in a private ceremony with CFD firefighters.