Roanoke’s 1920’s Fire Station No. 7 was an iconic presence in the city and served the Roanoke community for nearly 100 years. The old 4,500-square-foot building was too small and impractical for the current crew, and City of Roanoke made the decision to upgrade to a bigger and more modern facility. The old Fire Station was demolished and replaced with a new 14,000-square-foot building. About 1,200 bricks were recovered from the old building and used to build an accent wall to preserve the firehouse history in the new station. F&R’s involvement on the project consisted of subsurface exploration program and geotechnical engineering analyses, primarily focused on bearing capacity of the footings.

While this was a smaller project with limited scope, there were a lot of challenges with the site as many of the footings were undercut several feet due to poor capacity, and waste materials were found which had been buried prior to the original construction. The poor capacity was noted to be partially due to ground water near the surface, many footings were noted to have seepage after being undercut and water was often pumped out until just prior to the contractor placing flowable fill. In addition, weathered rock was often encountered at the site which had to be removed, typically to at least 1 foot below planned bottom of footing. F&R’s senior geotechnical engineer visited the site multiple times to observe existing surface conditions and make recommendations. F&R provided a geotechnical report summarizing our work on the project, providing foundation design, pavement design, and lateral earth pressure recommendations for the construction.