NASA Wallops Island Fire Station
Location Wallops Island, VA
Client VT Group, NASA GSFC WFF
Size 16,899 SF
Date of Completion 2018
Services #Architecture #Civil / Site Engineering #Structural Engineering
Sectors #Aerospace & Aviation #Emergency Facilities – Fire, Police, & EMS #Government #Government Buildings
Wallops Flight Facility, located at Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, serves primarily as a rocket launch site for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The island had previously been served by a 30-year-old fire station building that was prone to flooding, necessitating temporary relocation of firefighting equipment during heavy weather events. It was also located inside the rocket launch hazard zone and experienced significant damage from the 2014 Antares rocket explosion. The new facility, placed north of the hazard zone, ensures safe operation distances for personnel and equipment.
Due to the station’s close proximity to the ocean, durability was a driving design factor. The exterior shell of the new fire station features a pre-cast concrete insulated wall panel structural system and curtain-wall glass to combat hurricane winds in excess of 150 mph and prevent deterioration from salt air and wind-blown sand.
The station consists of a four-bay drive-through apparatus room and facilities to support full-time fire protection of NASA and Navy facilities on Wallops Island and the Mainland Base, as well as increased operational capacity during rocket launches. Station highlights include bunkrooms with A-Board furniture, turnout gear storage room with Mobile Ready Rack, GEARGRID fire workstation & locker systems, decontamination room with heavy-duty commercial washer extractors, physical training room, S.C.B.A. compressor room, maintenance shop, double-sided elevator, kitchen and dining area, as well as training and office spaces.
The HVAC system includes high-efficiency geothermal heat pumps for the administrative portion of the building and infrared gas tube heaters for the engine bays. Specialized lighting was also installed to protect the local sea turtle population from the adverse effects of artificial lighting.
In 2018, the NASA Wallops Island Fire Station was awarded LEED Silver certification, making it the first LEED building at Wallops Flight Facility.