Bush Construction gives an old firehouse a new lift

The Central Fire Station in Davenport, Iowa, is the oldest firehouse in operation west of the Mississippi River. In fact, the building is so old, it was originally outfitted for horses when it was built in 1901! Bush Construction was chosen to carry out designs from The Galante Architecture Studio in Boston starting in January 2015 to renovate the century-old firehouse in a way that maintains its 1900s charm and also gives the station a beautiful, modern addition.

 “They’ve been trying to make this renovation a reality since the 1980s,” said Project Manager Ryan Welborn. “They were finally given the green light three years ago to figure out a way to build and add onto the station while still maintaining its status as the oldest firehouse west of the Mississippi.”

Bush Construction is now making that renovation a reality. The plan involves demolishing an addition built in the 1940s in order to create a 20,000 square foot expansion beyond the station’s original 10,000 square foot unit.

“Bush Construction is excited to take on a project that means so much to our fire department and community,” said Jerod Engler, vice president of construction. “It’s a great building, and it’ll be great to see a finished product that preserves its historical elements while adding modern utility and design.”

 That original section will be renovated in historical fashion—for example, using specific mortars for tuck-pointing, utilizing the existing fire poles, etc. to give it that historical atmosphere, as befits its illustrious past.

However, while the oldest part of the building will be renovated in a way that maintains historical standards and characteristics, the addition will look and feel modern, incorporating terra cotta, metal panels and lots of glass.

“It’s going to be a really nice-looking building at the end of the day,” said Welborn.

 With a $12 million budget and a partnership with OSHA to promote a safe workplace, Bush Construction will break ground on the project in April. The demolition and expansion will be the first part of the project, which is projected to be finished in April 2016. Immediately after completion of the addition, the renovation of the existing unit will begin. The whole project is slated to be wrapped up in October 2016.