Eastside Fire & Rescue station showcases ‘green’ innovations

June 14, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

City Council authorizes $47,000 art piece for building

Construction is almost complete on Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 — a showcase for “green” innovations adjacent to the Issaquah Transit Center — and firefighters should start settling into the sleek structure in August.

Workmen perform a job June 9 before pouring the concrete driveway in front of Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 on Northwest Maple Street a block east of state Route 900. By Greg Farrar

The facility is designed to replace the aging Station 72 less than a mile down Northwest Maple Street from the construction site. The city, architect and EFR designed the modern Station 72 to use as little energy and water as possible.

The building includes a system to pump heat from the ground, photovoltaic cells to catch sunlight and triple-paned windows to reduce heat loss — enough features to achieve the toughest standards from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“This project is just much ‘greener’ than anything just about anybody has done,” city Project Manager Brad Liljequist said.

The existing Station 72, a temporary structure meant to last five years, opened 11 years ago. City Council members initiated the design process for a replacement in 2007. The updated station includes “green” features from early in the conceptualization. Construction started on the $4.3 million station in June 2010.

Liljequist also serves as project manager for zHome, a townhouse community in the Issaquah Highlands designed to produce as much energy as the units consume. The project offered important lessons for Station 72, he said.

“A lot of the time with these extreme ‘green’ projects, one of the things that I think holds people back the most is fear of the unknown,” he continued. “There’s always that, ‘OK, how far can we push the envelope?’ And there’s just always a learning curve associated with it.”

The council authorized spending June 6 for a public art piece to adorn the masonry-and-aluminum façade.

The city selected Seattle artist Perri Lynch to create the piece after a competitive process. Plans call for a $47,000 piece featuring yellow, orange and red LED lighting. The artwork incorporates a resin made from about 50 percent recycled materials.

“When she was designing the artwork, she was really mindful of the materials that she was choosing because she wanted something that would require the least amount of maintenance, since it is going to be large-scale and mounted on the side of the building,” city Arts Coordinator Amy Dukes told council members.

Under city code, such projects require one-half of 1 percent of the initial $5 million in a project’s budget, plus one-quarter of 1 percent of the amount exceeding $5 million, to be used for public art.

Using the formula, the city budget $32,000 for Station 72 public art. In addition, the municipal Arts Commission recommended another $10,000 in public art funding for the project.

The additional $5,000 in costs resulted because the artist changed the piece to incorporate more eco-friendly materials.

“The total request is actually $47,000 because the artist designed an artwork and then, in order to have the artwork align with the LEED certification of the building, needed to change out some materials,” Dukes said.

Though the council agreed to fund the artwork, the piece raised questions among members.

“What is it about this piece of art that is Issaquah or is a fire station?” Councilman Joshua Schaer asked. “I’m very excited about the eco-resin and the use of recycled materials — that, I think, is very much in line with community values, but if we’re going to spend $47,000 — regardless of the fund it’s coming from, the price tag isn’t the issue, it’s what we’re getting for $47,000.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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