The City of Calistoga Fire Department is comprised of a mix of volunteer and paid firefighters that serves a rural community located in the heart of Napa Wine Country. Our work with them involved renovating an existing fire station so that it could function as their headquarters, by providing seismic upgrades, updating the apparatus bay to meet current operational needs, expanding the facility to provide more administrative space, and developing a better connection with the community at large.

The first priority was to provide seismic upgrades to ensure that the firefighters who spend their days risking their lives for others would be safe within their own facility. The City received funding through a FEMA grant for code-required seismic improvements. To assist in this process, BRW worked with the city to seek additional funding to expand the nearly 50-year-station.

The additional renovations included added administrative space, living quarters and restrooms open to the public. The design also allowed a space to house and display ‘Old Betsy’, a historic rig that was in service for the Calistoga Fire Department in the 1930’s. The display area extends out beyond the original façade and is visible from the commercial center one block away. This creates an iconic image for the station and the neighborhood. On a busy street in the middle of town, this feature helps to encourage members of the public to stop by.

Last but not least, BRW Architects and the Calistoga Fire Department prioritized the enlargement of the apparatus bays to accommodate today’s larger rigs and a loft reclaims some attic space to provide extra storage. One goal was to retain as much of the exterior shell as possible, which controlled costs and allowed the existing public parking toward the back of the lot to remain. In the end, the project was successful in providing the Fire Department with up-to-date facilities and a better connection to the community.