The new Winchester Fire Station No. 1 has been praised locally for the amenity it is to the city and the area, and now those accolades are coming from the national level.
The Fire Station is featured in the November 2020 edition of Firehouse magazine, a trade publication geared toward the firefighting profession.
The station has received the “Bronze Station Renovation Award” from the Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, publication’s Station Design Awards segment.
Fire Chief Gary Greeson said to have the station featured in a national trade publication is significant.
“It’s a heck of an honor,” he said. “I don’t know how many fire stations we’ve got in the nation, but there’s hundreds and hundreds of them, and to be among the top three says that we’re doing something right.”
Greeson said Winchester can be proud of the station because the national recognition also signifies that taxpayer dollars were well-spent on a much-needed project.
City Administrator Beth Rhoton echoed Greeson’s assessment.
“Winchester has needed to relocate Fire Station No. 1 for some time,” she said, referring to the Fire Department’s personnel. “They outgrew the former space, and the downtown revitalization efforts brought more people to downtown, and entering and exiting the space was difficult and also became dangerous.”
Rhoton said the current location at 800 S. College St. is a “win-win situation” for the city.
She said the proximity to the Southern Tennessee Regional Health System hospital, Franklin County High School and the Franklin County Industrial Park helps with faster response times, which in turn helps the city with its Insurance Services Office rating — a measurement used to determine insurance rates for fire protection.
Rhoton also referred to another plus to the overall project.
“We took a deteriorated building and brought it back to life in an effort to show Winchester’s commitment to that side of town,” she said, referring to Winchester’s south side.
Rhoton said the effort has also attracted other business development projects like the Food City grocery story that is being built near the Highway 41A-Bypass Road intersection.
“Now we are seeing other sizable investments to that area,” she said.
Rhoton said the city worked with the project’s engineers to make sure that Winchester would have a fire hall that would accommodate the city’s needs for the next 30 years while making it aesthetically pleasing — all while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and making sure every penny was spent wisely.
“I am very proud of the outcome and our efforts,” she said.
The Firehouse magazine article says that the firm Allen & Hoshall Inc. was retained by Winchester to provide architectural and engineering services to renovate an existing 11,900-square-foot building for the design of a 21st century main fire station.
The building was constructed in 1964 as an automotive sales and service dealership.
In 1970, there was an addition to the main building, and the facility operated in that capacity until 2005. Thereafter, the facility housed a custom window manufacturer until recently.
Winchester was excited to repurpose the facility because of its location on a major access road into town and the ability to provide a new municipal facility on a previously run-down site.
The project provided an opportunity to design a state-of-the-art facility that has pull-through apparatus bays and adequate support space to ensure the safety of the fire staff.
Additionally, this allowed the fire station to be moved from the existing confines of the in-town location that was adjacent to City Hall.
The facility is zoned into three areas which consist of administrative/office space, apparatus bays and residential areas for on-duty firefighters.
The administrative space includes a large area to display an antique fire engine and equipment off of the main entry lobby as well as office and conference room spaces.
The 5,360-square-foot apparatus area features three 80-foot pull-through bays and one partial bay for an emergency medical services vehicle.
The residential areas provide space for nine sleeping rooms, restrooms, a dayroom/kitchen area, a decontamination space and workshop areas.
The approximately 1.5-acre site provided the opportunity for separate vehicular circulation for the fire/emergency equipment with full pull-in to the station and direct exits to the adjacent main road as well as ample space for staff and public parking that’s separate from emergency-vehicle circulation.
The article says that Winchester Fire Station No. 1 was completed on Dec. 23, 2019, at a cost of $218.09 per square foot for the 11,930 total-square-foot project at a $2.6 million overall cost.
It recognizes the Allen & Hoshall Inc. design team, including Michel Lebel, project manager; Rick Boeving, architect of record; Norman Sneed, architectural designer; Mike Collins, electrical engineer and fire protection; Tom Johnson, plumbing designer; Ron Thompson, mechanical engineer and fire protection; Keith Seagraves, structural engineer; Roy Lamica, civil engineer; Mark Stockman, client and contract administration services manager; and Crystal Hill, contract administration services.