North Capitol Hill’s Fire Station 22 set for 15-month rebuild

fs22-renderingCapitol Hill’s northern firefighting outpost, Fire Station 22 will undergo a 15-month rebuild starting in March.

On E Roanoke right by the I-5 onramp, the new station will be more than double the size of the existing one, as it expands from about 4,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet. The new, two-story station will have a concrete hose tower, and a brick and glass façade. It’s also designed to be eco-friendly, with a LEED gold certification, and includes solar panels, an underground stormwater cistern which will provide 100% of the station’s non-drinking water needs, permeable pavers in public areas and a host of other sustainable features. Also, a London Plane tree will be preserved.

After firefighters are relocated to a temporary setup, demolition should begin. The city plans for construction to be complete by June 2017.

The old station was built in 1964, and did not keep up with modern firefighting needs. It isn’t large enough to fit some of the fire department’s larger vehicles and lacks enough space for equipment storage and drying. It also doesn’t meet current department standards such as private sleeping rooms, a workout room and decontamination room, and its mechanical and electrical systems are outdated and unsafe. The laundry list of problems means it’s actually easier to just tear down the existing building and start from scratch.

During construction, the firefighters and equipment will be relocated to an empty lot under I-5, bounded by Eastlake and Harvard avenues and Allison Street, its formal address will be 3100 Eastlake Ave. E. The station is home to a single engine, and an officer and three firefighters are on duty at any given time, with a total staff of 16 firefighters assigned to the station working in four shifts.

For drivers through the area during construction, there will likely be short-term disruptions and lane closures, but nothing long term, a city representative told CHS.

The station was part of a 2003 levy vote to fund construction at 32 fire stations around the city, and construct a handful of other facilities. At the time of the vote, construction was anticipated to start in 2007 but the project was delayed for the state’s Route 520 project. The city wanted to be sure to align the new station with the way 520 was going to shape up. A city spokesperson said there was a time when it seemed the state might have needed to take the land the station sits on for the 520 project, so the city wanted to make sure not to spend millions in renovation costs only to have the building removed.

At the time of the levy, the anticipated budget for a new Station 22 was $4.8 million. Cost esimates have ballooned to $11.7 million. Some of the rise can be attributed to changes in the construction environment from 13 years ago: changes to building codes, prevailing wage increases and good old-fashioned inflation. The original plan also called for an 8,100-square-foot building, and the new one will be 10,000 square feet.

The city says that the $11.7 million figure includes all costs, including permitting and taxes, and a $2 million contingency, which may not be spent.The bidding process is not yet complete, however, so there’s no final price tag. The city rep notes the construction market is competitive right now, so the city is preparing “for a limited number of builders and escalating construction costs.”

You can learn more about the project at

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2 thoughts on “North Capitol Hill’s Fire Station 22 set for 15-month rebuild

  1. I understand the need for expansion, but I’ll sure miss seeing the fire engines sitting in the open garages on a sunny day when I drive by.

  2. That immediate area carries alot of traffic, as it’s the main route for those heading north off Capitol Hill (or returning to the Hill from points north). I think there is going to be significant impacts on traffic flow as lanes are closed for construction.