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Bothell Funds New Fire Station Replacement Project

Bothell, Miller Hull Partnership, BNBuilders, OAC Services Inc, Fire Station 42, Fire Station 45, Puget Sound

By Jelena Krzanicki

The City of Bothell has recently funded a replacement project for Fire Stations 42 and 45 designed to mitigate the health stresses for first responders. The project aimed at enhancing the well-being of its firefighters and improving emergency response capabilities. 

The Miller Hull Partnership, in collaboration with BNBuilders, OAC Services, Inc., and the City of Bothell, has undertaken the design-build initiative, incorporating innovative features to address the physical and psychological challenges faced by firefighters in the line of duty.

The Fire Stations Replacement Project was predominantly funded by the 2018 voter-approved Safe and Secure Bond, with a budget of $35.5 million. In 2021, the Bothell City Council approved an amended Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) and a total project cost of $38 million.

“The scope was ambitious given the fixed budget and presented the team with challenges at each stage of the project. We worked closely with BNBuilders and the City of Bothell throughout the process to identify systems, materials and building forms that recognized these challenges while still delivering an impactful civic institution,” said the project’s Design Lead and Partner Scott Wolf, FAIA.

In a bid to support firefighter wellness and combat the physical and psychological stress inherent to their profession, Fire Stations 42 and 45 have been designed with a holistic approach. Beyond the standard firefighting equipment and apparatus bays, these stations feature living quarters, specialized equipment pressurization and decontamination spaces and comprehensive maintenance facilities. Notably, Station 45 also houses a satellite police office, enhancing the Bothell Police Department’s ability to serve the north-end residents efficiently.

The City of Bothell opted for a comprehensive design-build approach due to the project’s complexity, anticipated sequencing and phasing challenges, cost predictability, and the critical need to maintain uninterrupted operations during construction. 

“The progressive design-build delivery method was key to this project’s success. In addition to developing the two new stations, the project scope included interim facilities to ensure continuity of service during the construction period, which is unusual for a project like this and required a highly collaborative relationship with BNBuilders and the City of Bothell,” added Wolf. 

One of the most pressing concerns for firefighters is their frequent exposure to carcinogens, which leads to elevated cancer rates within the profession. These designs emphasize dedicated areas for decontamination (“red zones”), gear storage (“yellow zones”) and daily crew living and working spaces (“green zones”). The facilities promote maintaining a clean working environment and minimizing carcinogen exposure through dedicated hand and boot wash stations, specialty ventilation, dehumidification systems and nonporous, nontoxic materials.

“Recognizing the inherent dangers associated with the profession, it was a priority to put the health of our first responders front and center by exemplifying and integrating best practice recommendations from Washington State Council of Fire Fighters’ ‘Healthy In, Healthy Out’ manual throughout the project,” said Wolf. 

Firefighters also contend with a range of psychological and physiological stressors in their line of duty. These include repeated night-time wake-ups, caring for severely injured patients and dealing with overheating while wearing protective bunker gear for extended periods. Miller Hull’s design approach incorporates solutions such as sound-isolated sleeping rooms, switchable alerting systems to minimize crew disturbances, dedicated areas for physical training, enhanced cooling capacity, appropriate lighting and soothing interior design choices. These features collectively aim to support the overall well-being of firefighters.