Central Valley Fire Station

Central Valley Fire Station

Central Valley Fire District (CVFD) provides all risk fire, rescue, and emergency medical services for 36,000 citizens residing in a two-hundred-square-mile area near Belgrade that includes Montana’s largest and busiest airport—Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport. The Gallatin Valley is one of Montana’s fastest growing communities with wildland and recreation areas, large single-family homes and multi-family residential subdivisions, and a vibrant business community. In all, Central Valley Fire District operates seven stations strategically located throughout the jurisdiction. Station #1 is the critical hub of the seven stations.

Station 1, which was previously located in downtown Belgrade but is now near the airport, improves access and firefighter response times. It was a 63-year-old building erected by volunteers. The 1956 structure was not only cramped, dangerous and obsolete, but was showing signs of serious external and internal deterioration. The building’s façade had cracks at the bottom of the foundation and up the masonry walls on the outside of the building. Considering the construction era and construction type (unreinforced masonry) the facility was considered extremely susceptible to a seismic event, not an acceptable situation for an essential facility serving such a large contingency.

As an important community-centered and community-minded project, the owner wanted to purchase and fabricate materials from as many local suppliers and tradespeople as possible. In order to meet this goal, Morrison-Maierle’s structural design incorporated multiple system approaches (both lateral and vertical), various materials, unique geometries, specialized lateral load transfers across materials and systems, as well as provided considerations of differential systems movement. The station also includes a significant amount of exposed masonry that required extra effort and attention in both the design and construction phases.

This project is unique because it contains a separate decontamination building—the first and only one in the United States. Morrison-Maierle’s structural engineering design is now in the national spotlight as there have been numerous site visits and tours of this facility from design teams and firefighters throughout the country.