Chelmsford Fire Station – North Station

Fire station expansion and renovation

The Town of Chelmsford hired Triumph Modular to assist with their North Fire Station renovation and expansion. The Town of Chelmsford had previously worked with Triumph Modular on four elementary school projects, so they were very familiar with our work and the benefits of modular construction. The North Fire Station was built in 1956 and badly needed renovation. In addition to renovating the apparatus bay at the fire station, the project also involved upgrading the living quarters for the firefighters. Built in an era where a single-gender workforce was typical, the requirements for accessibility and safety also weren’t as stringent for the original fire station.

The first responders sleeping quarters were located in a room at the back of an apparatus bay. Access to the common area and kitchen from the bunkroom required a walk through the garage bay. The sleeping area was undersized. All the personal spaces needed a design makeover and some modernization. The apparatus bay wasn’t large enough to efficiently maneuver the fire engine and rescue boat. The backside of the bay only had one garage door due to the bunkroom occupying 25% of the garage space. There was no way to drive straight through the garage without moving something out of the way first.

The project’s scope involved the demolition of the sleeping quarters and the building section next to the apparatus bay, which contained the lounge area, kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and a couple of other offices. We would replace this part of the building with a new two-story modular addition. The modular addition would provide individual bedrooms, freeing up space in the garage to renovate the apparatus bay and adding a second garage door at the back of the fire station.

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Why Modular?

The first responders were relocated by Triumph Modular during the renovation and construction of the addition. Modular construction would drastically shorten the length of time the firefighters would be away from the North Station. The project was estimated to take about six months, more than half the time that traditional construction would require. In conjunction with our factory partner, MODLOGIQ, Inc., more than 80% of the modules were completed off-site, which enhanced the Speed-to-Occupancy. Cost Certainty was another major factor in choosing modular. The Triumph Modular and MODLOGIQ team worked with the Town of Chelmsford to stay on budget. Chelmsford’s familiarity with the cadence of our processes helped with efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The repeatability of modular construction could serve as an advantage if the Town of Chelmsford decides to upgrade other fire stations in the future.

Unique Solution

Since the original bunkroom was close to the apparatus bay, potential contaminants from the firefighters’ gear and equipment could permeate the living space. To overcome this, we built a Gear Locker Room that the firefighters could only access from the apparatus bay. There is no entry to the gear locker room from the living quarters to protect the firefighters, ensuring their health and safety. Potential contaminants from the turnout gear would be contained in the locker room. The gear locker room was independently heated and ventilated. The room also includes a washer-extractor system for heavy-duty protective gear cleaning.

The Final Product

We created a state-of-the-art living space for the first responders. The two-story modular building was built six-over-six modules and totaled 4,320 square feet. The brick facade of the garage was matched using a thin brick panelized system that was added at the factory. Lincoln Architects, LLC designed the new living quarters to sleep six firefighters at any time and can now better accommodate a co-ed workforce. Individual bunkrooms allow for more privacy and help keep a team of first responders healthy during a surging pandemic or flu season. The new space was built to updated standards, provides ADA Bathrooms, and meets the accessibility requirements of a modern building. The energy-efficient modular buildings incorporate personal locker and changing rooms, bathrooms with showers, a full kitchen, an eating area/lounge, a complete gym, a maintenance repair shop, a laundry room, and administrative space. The Apparatus Bay now has two garage doors on both the front and the back of the garage, which will allow Engine 2 to drive straight through. There is also enough space in the renovated garage to house both the fire engine and the rescue boat, creating a more efficient work environment where speed is of utmost importance.

Compared with a complete teardown and reconstruction of the Fire Station, the Town of Chelmsford saved millions of dollars and likely a year of additional construction time and planning by going with a modular solution. Triumph Modular is proud to have helped preserve a historic fire station and provide the first responders a healthier, safer, and more comfortable work environment as they continue to serve and protect the town.