Wisconsin Fire Stations Receive Design Excellence Recognition

February 3, 2010

Three Wisconsin fire stations designed by SEH received awards in the 2009 StationStyle design competition sponsored by Fire Chief Magazine.

The Middleton Fire District Station No. 1 won a Silver Award, and Elkhart Lake’s new fire station won Notable Recognition in the Volunteer Station category, while the Village of Bellevue’s Public Safety Center received Notable Recognition in the Shared Facilities category.

“Designing an award-winning fire station is really a team accomplishment,” says architect Trevor Frank. “It’s a testament to SEH’s ability to understand and meet the needs of this unique client type, and to work closely with those clients, contractors and other stakeholders to achieve a successful project."

The Fire Stations

Middleton Fire District New Station No. 1

The new station serves as a visual gateway to the City. Community leaders requested a design based on turn-of-the-century firehouses to showcase historic artifacts including an old fire pumper. The department staff envisioned the new station as a tool to recruit new volunteers to its 80-member roster, and to give emergency service providers pride of ownership. The facility incorporates many high-efficiency, sustainable design elements, including an apparatus bay with abundant natural lighting, encapsulated exhaust emission systems and four-fold doors that open and close in 3.4 seconds to improve response time and energy conservation.

  • Project Area: 40,000 sq. ft.
  • Total Cost: $6.2 million
  • Completion Date: August 2008

Village of Bellevue New Public Safety Center

The new public safety facility is a highly-visible community landmark that includes the fire department, county police services, a branch of the Brown County court system and village hall functions. The building blends accessibility with a clean design aesthetic and sustainable design features. The fire department includes a training room and a 20,000-square-foot apparatus bay that receives much of its lighting from natural daylight. The village boardroom is fully integrated with audio/visual and high-capacity computer network lines. The facility is designed for future expansion.

  • Project Area: 41,000 sq. ft.
  • Total Cost: $4.2 million
  • Completion Date: July 2008

Village of Elkhart Lake Fire Station

Because of the station's prominent location at the entrance to the Village, designers created a highly-functional facility and a community focal point. The design also incorporates sustainable, local materials and renewable, efficient energy sources to achieve a "self-performing" LEED Silver standard. Site challenges included a grade that required installing eight feet of fill, mitigating an existing wetlands area, effectively managing stormwater issues and ensuring safety with egress onto a busy highway.

  • Project Area: 17,070 sq. ft.
  • Total Cost: $3.1 million
  • Completion Date: May 2009

About the Fire Station Design Awards


The StationStyle Design Awards are sponsored by Fire Chief Magazine, an industry trade publication with estimated circulation of 56,000 readers.

Judging Panel

The judges include career and volunteer chief officers, other fire service representatives and architects who have designed fire stations.


The submissions are separated into five categories: career, volunteer, satellite, combined-use and renovation. Three winners are selected in each category. Each submission is scored by each judge on a scale of one to ten. The judges then meet to determine final winners in each category. Submissions must include a site plan, floor plan, exterior and interior photos and other descriptive materials.


Judges consider a variety of criteria in selecting the award winners, including:

  • Were the design goals set forth by the architect and the fire department achieved?
  • Can fire apparatus respond safely to calls when leaving and returning to the station?
  • Is the entrance easily identified and inviting to the public? Are ADA requirements addressed?
  • Can firefighters get to their apparatus in a timely manner from any part of the station, including the sleeping quarters?
  • Is the apparatus bay well-designed, and are there rooms or spaces to support it?
  • How does the design of the apparatus bay facilitate equipment cleaning and maintenance?
  • Does the design of the kitchen and dining area reflect the importance of this space?
  • Do sleeping quarters and bathrooms offer maximum flexibility, and accommodate individual preferences, such as sleep schedules and preferred temperature?
  • Is the fire station training-friendly?
  • Does the station consider the public with an inviting reception area and restrooms?
  • Does the architectural design complement the surrounding neighborhood?
  • Is the station environmentally friendly? LEED certified?


Public Safety Facility | Bellevue, Wis.
New Fire Station | Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Fire and EMS Facilities | Middleton, Wis.

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