10 March, 1989 (~estimated)
Designs for New Firehouse Shown In Meeting of Borough, Township
The new firehouse proposed on Witherspoon Stf,syst took a step toward becoming reality last Monday night as schematic designs were shown to a joint session of Borough Council and Township Committee Monday night by architect William Wolfe.
Mr. Wolfe has designed a ‘building that is the-same height and general bulk as the adjacent Valley Road building that serves as the Township municipal headquarters. The two buildings. will front on Witherspoon Street at the same set-back diStance and will be separated by an 18-foot driveway to a rear courtyard used for parking and storage. The firehouse is proposed to be constructed of brick similar in color to that used on the Valley Road building.
Although it will initially house just two fire trucks, the firehouse has been designed with lour bays to accommodate four trucks without stacking them one behind another. Mr. Wolfe suggested that future consolidation of fire companies, as well. as the pace of development in the Township, could bring four pieces of fire-fighting apparatus to this location.
The firehouse will look like a two-story building; however, the engine bay itself will 1.18 feet in height, so that firemen can work on the tap of the fire trucks standing up, and the second floor wnew firill actually be glassed-in me surrounding the engineezzanin bay on two sides. This mezzanine will contain the fire company meeting room, reconstructed in every detail to resemble the existing meeting room on the second floor of the Chambers Street firehouse which the company is giving up.
Women’s Bunk Room. In anticipation of the fact that fire companies of the future may be paid rather than volunteer, and are composed of women as well as men, the mezzanine contains a women’s bunk room as well as a men’s, and women’s and men’s toilet/shower facilities. There is also an office for the fire chief and for fire company records and an exercise room.
On the first floor, below the meeting room, is a large multi-use recreation room with a bar at one end, space for Engine Co. No. 3’s big central table, and a lounge with fireplace at the far end. Next to it is a small kitchen, men and women’s toilet/shower facilities, and storage and mechanical rooms.
The traditional pole for firefighters to slide down in their haste to get to the fire has been preserved in the plan, as well as Engine Co. No. 3’s existing bell. Mr. Wolfe said the Borough noise ordinance prevents the ringing of this bell, but it will be enshrined in a special location in this new firehouse.
Nine parking spaces will be provided for firefighters in front of the building in an area that will be part concrete paver, part grass. The purpose is to get the public to stay clear thinking it isn’t a parking area. Mr. Wolfe said The apron.in front of the firehouse is long enough to allow washing and tending to the firetrucks individually.
Traffic Control. An interesting feature is a small radio control room obtruding slightly beyond the facade on the second floor. A radio dispatcher will have full view of Witherspoon Street, Mr. Wolfe’ said and, like an air traffic controller, can guide the fire truck out of the bay and onto the street safely. The new firehouse will be 12,375 square feet in total area — almost exactly what Mr. Wolfe was asked to design when awarded the project. The architect was complimented on his “excellent design” by Borough and Township elected officials, who voted separately and unanimously to approve the schematic design.
Leaders of Engine Co. No. 3 also said that the firehouse as designed will be “more than adequate” for thier needs and expressed their appreciation for the number of times the architect had met with them.