The Norman Transcript

March 17, 2009

Students take 'LEED' in fire station design

By Tom Blakey

David Boeck, associate professor of architecture and Hepi Wachter, associate professor of interior design, recently worked with a combined class of third-year design students at the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture, to develop conceptual ideas for Norman's new east side fire station.

"The students, all juniors, are learning how to use steel, concrete and masonry in their designs, and how wood buildings go together," Boeck said.

The students also were learning to integrate LEED principles into the project, Boeck said. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a national design standard for developing and rating sustainable buildings, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

After conferring with Mayor Cindy Rosenthal and other city leaders, Boeck said the fire station project seemed a good opportunity for students to "do some master planning, discuss with firefighters what they were looking for in fire station design, and learn to program and deal with clients" in the design process.

The City of Norman has purchased 10 acres on the north side of Alameda Street, between 24th and 36th avenues, on which to build the fire station, and the site design seemed the perfect model for the student project, Boeck said.

The students presented their work March 9 at the old Hobby Lobby downtown and March 11 at the Fire Station No. 7 Training Center.

"We got the mayor, fire chief and firefighters involved in the project, along with Fire Marshall Robert Betts," who stopped in to view the students' work, Boeck said.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said firefighters and fire department officials enjoyed working with the students, who sought firefighters' input into the design plans.

"We'll soon be hiring an architect to begin designing the east side fire station," Bailey said, and the students' work will be turned over to the architectural firm.

"All in all, the project was a good opportunity for students to work with others" in developing the conceptual plans, Boeck said.

The work will be on display at the Norman Municipal Building the week after next, Boeck said. "It will be an opportunity for the community to come in and get an idea of what the Architectural School is doing and what a LEED certified fire station could look like."

Tom Blakey 366-3540 tblakey@normantranscript.com