Bluffton Township Fire Station

Bluffton Township Fire Station

Project Details

Bluffton, SC
6,716 square feet
Wall System: Brick, Stucco
End Use: Government & Institutional

New Fire Station Is Pride Of Historic Downtown

‘Timeless’ building meets multiple needs.

Historic Appeal: The fire station exterior exudes traditional low-country style.

Design-Build Success: The Butler Builder® assembled all the key players early.

Hybrid Flexibility:  The facility marries the Widespan and Hybrid structural systems.

Fire Station Delivers Long-Term Savings

Growing Community Has Multiple Design Requirements

Imagine a community that is fast-growing, yet has a rich history and a commitment to historic preservation. Put it in the potential path of a hurricane. Add in humid, subtropical weather and corrosive sea air.

Now, design and build a new fire station for this community that makes a statement, serves firefighters’ needs and keeps taxpayer concerns in mind.

The Bluffton Township Fire District met these challenges and more with its new Fire Station No. 30 in downtown Bluffton, South Carolina. Working with Fraser Construction Company, LLC, a Butler Builder®, the fire district constructed a new station that delights firefighters and townspeople alike.

“We wanted a building that was timeless — that could stand for 50 years and still fit with the historic look of our downtown area. Thanks to Fraser Construction and Butler Manufacturing, we definitely achieved that goal. We’ve received a lot of positive comments from the community.”

John Thompson, Bluffton Township Fire District 

Trying Design-Build

This was the first design-build project for the Bluffton Township Fire District.

“We really liked the process. From day one, Fraser Construction brought together the architects, the landscape designers and all the other people critical to the project. We’re happy they brought the Butler system into the design.”

John Thompson, Bluffton Township Fire District 

Functionality First

The Bluffton Township Fire District had a long list of requirements for the new station — functionality, durability, expandability and economy.

Job one at Fire Station No. 30 is to fight fires. To achieve its primary function, the station needed large drive-through spaces to store a 38-foot firetruck, ambulance and utility vehicle, plus comfortable spaces for firefighters to eat, exercise and rest when not responding to emergencies.

The Widespan structural system provided large column-free spans for two equipment bays totaling 3,430 square feet. For the living areas, Butler delivered hybrid building solutions that offered flexibility and speed of construction for customized configurations without interior columns. Living areas include a commercial kitchen, group dining area, fitness room, captain’s office and individual sleeping quarters for the six emergency responders who are on duty at any one time.

Withstanding The Elements

The coastal Carolina environment was another challenge to overcome. Although Bluffton is 15 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, sea breezes bring in salty air, fueling rust and corrosion. And hurricanes are a potential threat every year. As a hub for natural disaster response, the station needs to withstand winds up to 140 miles per hour.

Durable Butler systems are up to the test of Bluffton weather. The 24-gauge VSR II architectural roof system, with its standing-seam design, is weathertight and allows up to 2 inches of thermal movement to reduce wear and tear. Concealed moveable clips firmly anchor the roof panels.

Likewise, the affordable Butlerib® II wall system features exceptional durability with 26-gauge panels. Deep 1-1/2-inch corrugation provides extra strength.

Preparing For Growth

The Bluffton Township Fire District protects 50,000 people who live in unincorporated areas of Beaufort County, along with 13,600 Bluffton residents. Bluffton is exploding as a community, with more than 800 percent population growth from 2000 to 2010. Therefore, the design for Fire Station No. 30 needed to allow for future expansion.

“Most of the building is covered with finishing brick and stucco, but at the end of the emergency equipment storage area we left the exterior wall unfinished. With the Butler system, we can easily add a third apparatus bay. The ground is already leveled and ready to go.”

Jay Fraser,  Fraser Construction

Another way the Bluffton Township Fire District planned for growth is by calling for Fire Station No. 30 to be a “prototype” building. Bluffton’s vision was for the station to be a model that could be replicated at other locations.

With input from firefighters and officers of the fire department, Fraser Construction and Court Atkins Group created a prototype station layout that meets the district’s needs, regardless of location.

Flexible Butler systems fit the prototype approach perfectly. In addition to providing durability, Butler systems will allow designers to tailor new stations’ exteriors to match the varying architectural guidelines of different service areas — ranging from a retirement community to an equestrian-centric neighborhood to a development with homes valued at $1 million and up.

More Than Walls And A Roof

For the emergency responders who work there, the new Bluffton Fire District Station No. 30 represents more than walls and a roof — it’s a source of pride as well.

“The building really helps maintain department morale and keeps people motivated, especially for our younger firemen.”

John Thompson, Bluffton Township Fire District 

Butler Builder®

Fraser Construction Company LLC

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