AWC receives ABC Excellence in Construction Project of the Year Award for Fire Station 10
Auld & White Constructors was honored to receive five awards at the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC), Florida First Coast Chapter Excellence in Construction Awards on Friday, August 18, 2023. The annual awards dinner, held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, was attended by over 500 hundreds members and clients of the Northeast Florida building community.
City of Jacksonville Fire Station 10, Jacksonville, FL
Eagle and Project of the Year Award Winner
Established in 1927, City of Jacksonville’s (COJ) Fire Station 10, situated on McDuff Avenue in the Riverside neighborhood, has evolved into one of Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s (JFRD) largest and most important stations. Recognized by the moniker “The Penitentiary,” it pays tribute to the many firefighters who have been assigned there. As one of the busiest Fire Stations in Jacksonville, Station 10 also oversees three other fire districts in JFRD’s second battalion. In addition to the grueling assignment, historically, many firefighters were appointed to this location as a preventative measure to keep them occupied and out of trouble. “Punished” firefighters who called Station 10 home began referring to their employee I.D. numbers as inmate numbers. To this day, many of the “inmates” remain proud of the assignment, and despite having completed multiple tours of duty, they are always willing and eager to return to their beloved Station 10.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROJECT
Although Fire Station 10 added a pair of bays and had an update / renovation in the 1980s, it needed significant updates to meet the growing needs of its community. Currently, as one of the busiest stations in Jacksonville, it required updates to the site, interior renovations, and bathrooms upgraded to comply with Code. Additionally, two new bays were added to allow Station 10’s pump and ladder trucks to drive through access. To facilitate this, the City of Jacksonville (COJ) purchased three adjacent properties, and the structures were demolished. Director / Fire Chief Keith Powers (who also once called Station 10 home) commented, “It’s safer for the people that are driving up and down McDuff Avenue, and it’s safer for our firefighters.” The updates truly make Station 10 like home. “Our guys work 24 on, 48 off, so they live in these stations for a 24-hour period,” Powers explained. “So they not only come to work, but they also eat and sleep here — it’s just like a regular house on the inside — then they respond to runs and 911 calls as they come in.” Powers also shared, “It’s very important that we keep these [fire stations] as updated as they need to be.”
Renovating and adding to a historic building poses many challenges that require careful consideration. JFRD Director / Fire Chief Keith Powers stated that there is a duty to preserve the historical value of Jacksonville’s fire stations. “We have a responsibility to keep these older historic buildings in great working condition and not let them deteriorate because of their historical value,” he said. To respect Fire Station 10’s history, AWC had to strike a balance between honoring the building’s legacy and integrating modern technology. Below, we will highlight some of the most significant challenges among the numerous that were resolved.
Challenge- No Disruption of Service
Fire stations play a critical role in responding to emergencies and protecting the community. Any delay in response time due to the temporary closure of a fire station could have serious consequences to public safety. Temporary closure would also require reassigning personnel to other stations, disrupting the established team dynamics and potentially affecting overall readiness. With the importance of Fire Station 10, AWC developed a phased approach which allowed the renovation and addition to occur in stages while specific areas remain opened and operational. Firefighters were temporarily relocated to alternative areas within the older buildings while spaces were being added and renovated. AWC focused on creating minimal inconvenience while maintaining safe and unobstructed access to the building entrances, exits, and essential spaces such as restrooms. Additionally, we worked closely with our subs and JEA to coordinate and mitigate interruptions to existing utilities, alarm system, and life safety services.
Challenge- Producing a seamless aesthetic
Fire Station 10 holds a significant place as a locally designated historic landmark. Striking a balance between preserving the property’s historical integrity and incorporating new construction was of utmost importance. AWC’s primary goal was to ensure the new project blended seamlessly with the original 1927 Fire Station while honoring its massing, size, scale, and architectural features. To achieve this, we combined brick and architectural precast masonry elements to create a consistent façade across the original building, 1980’s renovation, and the new addition. This approach maintained visual harmony with all buildings on the site. Additionally, AWC replaced the existing clay tile roofing on the historic building, ensuring its long-term durability and preserving its authentic aesthetic.
Preserving the original character of the fire station was also a key consideration in the design. To replicate the original roll-up garage doors at the historic building, we carefully infilled an existing historic doorway using LGMF (light gauge metal framing) and fiber cement paneling. This meticulous attention to detail allowed us to retain the structure’s architectural heritage. To maintain the historical look of the fire station, we added custom sectional garage doors to both the existing 1980s addition and new apparatus bays. Despite early procurement requests, the long lead times of these custom doors required AWC to continually press its vendor for delivery. In the interim, we installed temporary doors for security.
After installation, the new doors provided a distinctive appearance while accommodating modern functionality and operational needs. In summary, AWC’s approach to the renovation and addition of Fire Station 10 was guided by preserving its historic significance. By utilizing compatible materials, replicating original elements, and carefully integrating new features, AWC created a design that respected the past while accommodating the present requirements of the fire station.