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Fire station at night with fire engines leaving

Bain School Fire Station/Kenosha Fire Station #1


The City of Kenosha needed to transform Bain Elementary School located on an urban, downtown site into a brand-new fire station – today, it’s known as the Bain School Fire Station. It was important to the City, fire department and community that historical architectural features from the school be maintained and integrated into the new fire station design.


The City selected SEH to lead overall project management, architecture and sustainable design, and stakeholder outreach. As project manager and lead designer, the SEH team came up with an innovative 24,000 sq. ft. single-story design that factored in sustainability, performance efficiency and the opportunity to maintain key historical features from the former Bain Elementary School.

Construction management techniques
Stuckey Construction Company (SCC) provided thoughtful and collaborative construction management throughout the construction process.

SCC collaborated with the City and SEH to understand the sequence of construction, in particular some of the structural details, which included completing an 1,800 sq. ft. basement and masonry bearing support for apparatus bays and the construction of the mechanical mezzanine areas.

With the SCC’s team’s effective construction scheduling, innovative construction techniques, and SEH’s proper design of building materials, the City kept the project moving and on target throughout the winter months.

Safety measures
The City and SEH worked with SCC to develop and incorporate a safety plan into the project to meet safety standards, especially given the unique setting for construction at the old Bain Elementary School site.

Protecting the workers and the property in a busy area was a priority throughout construction because of its location in a residential neighborhood where families and children would walk by the site each day.

Community relations
This unique project was important to the members of the Kenosha community. The City and SEH took several measures to provide clear and effective community relations, which started with a thoughtful design preserving many elements of the historic Bain School, including:

  • Filling the Gabion retaining wall with demolished materials from the school.
  • Stone signage that was once over the school’s main entrance now sits over the fire station’s main entrance.
  • The entry door for the training room in the fire station was previously the entry door from the school.
  • Firefighters transformed reclaimed wood into the dining room’s massive dining table.
  • Date stones and a time capsule from the original building are displayed on the station exterior.

Additionally, the City and design/construction team provided thoughtful outreach and community support throughout the project, including:

  • Providing the community with greater awareness of fire safety and the benefits of having the station in the neighborhood.
  • Supporting a positive economic impact during construction, as local businesses benefitted from laborers on the job site.
  • Implementing additional public safety measures, such as the storm shelter-in-place, further protect the public under certain circumstances and severe weather events.
  • Inviting the community to an open house to see the new fire station upon completion.

Environmental awareness
The team’s overall awareness of the historical significance also supported measures that helped protect the environment, including:

  • Reusing historic building elements diverted them from a landfill.
  • A fully adhered membrane roof.
  • Removing and remediating a large underground diesel fuel storage tank.
  • Crushing material onsite was used to fill the hole after storage tank removal.
  • Installing four-fold doors provide higher wind resistance and mitigate the risks of being pushed in under high wind conditions.

Understanding it was a priority of the City, the SEH team designed and implemented sustainable features such as LED lighting and onsite stormwater treatment, high-efficiency heating and cooling, recycled and local materials. Using repurposed and salvaged materials was also a priority, as well as using locally produced materials and high recycle content materials.


  • 2022 Project of the Year Award | American Public Works Association (APWA) – Wisconsin Chapter

Project Name
Bain School Fire Station/Kenosha Fire Station #1

Kenosha, Wisconsin

City of Kenosha

Station Features

  • 24,000 sq. ft. single-story station design
  • 5 drive-through bays
  • Day room/kitchen
  • Decontamination room
  • Watch desk
  • Firefighter memorial
  • Shelter-in-place facilities
  • Emergency operation center
  • Workout facilities
  • Gender-neutral locker and bunk room facilities
  • Mezzanine training area features:
    • Ladder and hose evolutions
    • Window rescue
    • Accommodations for self-contained breathing apparatus confidence course
    • Vertical and near-vertical rescue
    • Sprinkler and standpipe training
    • Door and roof breaching


  • Architecture
  • Civil engineering
  • Community development
  • Highway design
  • Interior design
  • Planning and landscape architecture
  • Structural engineering
  • Survey
  • Sustainable design