Over a span of nearly 80 years, the Borough of Lehighton Fire Department in Pennsylvania operated through two separate firehouses on the same street. The vision of creating one cohesive facility ultimately drove the Lehighton Fire Department to purchase the properties between their two buildings. After the Department acquired all of the property necessary to fulfill its goal, H2M was retained to design a unique, 18,000-square-foot infill addition.
Two major challenges were overcome in order to successfully design the addition to the two existing buildings, one of which dates back to the 1910s, and the other to the 1930s. The first was to keep both existing buildings fully operational during the ongoing construction, which was done by retaining the existing stairwells and elevators within the design. The design team also faced the challenge of varying elevations between the two existing buildings. As a resolution, various floor levels were manipulated to meet the exterior street level.
The overall design resulted in a two-story addition with six new fire truck bays, as well as bunker gear and apparatus support spaces. Careful thought was put into the addition’s exterior, which blended into the existing buildings by matching their exterior finishes. Staff amenities include new meeting and training rooms, offices, a dispatch office, a fitness center, a day room and kitchen, bunk rooms, and locker rooms. New egress stairwells, ramps and an ADA-compliant elevator are also included within the new infill addition.