Hartford Fire Station had served Maine’s Capital City for nearly a century from a hilltop overlooking the downtown. Designed back when firefighters were still using horse-drawn water pumps, the station’s infrastructure was failing under the weight of modern fire engines, which barely fit inside the apparatus bay doors. Augusta voters approved $6 million to bring this important resource up to today’s standards. Bridging documents for this design/build project were prepared by Ames Associates.
The design solution for this project was a 11,325 SF addition and along with a major renovation of the original 8,800 SF Classical Revival structure. The new two-story expansion provides a six-vehicle, drive-through apparatus bay with a comprehensive exhaust system and decontamination area. Above, the living quarters offers a roomy kitchen/day room, fitness room, bunk rooms, personal laundry, and dedicated storage — all isolated from, yet quickly accessible to, the new apparatus bay.
The renovation of the 1920 portion of the building was threatened by the cost of foundation reinforcements required to meet essential facility standards for an existing fire station. The team reimagined the design and put all Category IV critical uses into the new addition, technically a separate building, allowing Tier II standards on the 1920 wing of the facility.
The renovated original structure still provides many important functions, including a four-door vehicle storage bay for backup equipment and the station’s prized antique fire truck. Its second floor is comprised of administrative offices, training room with kitchenette, unisex restrooms, conference room, and display space for historic memorabilia. Scope of work included a complete rebuild of the vehicle bay floor, many new windows, all new MEP systems, and an emergency staircase on the exterior west wall. The entire site and parking lot were also reconfigured, adding parking and a secure back entrance.
A historical note: Hartford Fire Station sits on a parcel given by George Huntington Hartford (1833-1917). Hartford was an Augusta native and owner of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as the A&P grocery store chain. He was also a fire buff, and reputedly named his company after Augusta’s Great Atlantic and Pacific Fire Company.
Augusta’s hilltop landmark is now ready for the next century of service – thanks to local support, a visionary fire chief, and a project team well-versed in firematically-correct design.