Training Academy Designed To Fit Park-Like Setting
Construction of a fire department training facility of unusual design is under way in Peoria, Ill.
The Peoria Fire Training Academy has been designed by the architectural firm of E. G. Lehmann Associates to be both broadly functional and aesthetically pleasing in a park-like environment.
Unlike the usual drab skeletal training facilities this complex will complement its natural setting along the Illinois River. To enhance this location, a park-like theme has been carried through the project. The two-building complex will be dominated by a fivestory tower and associated training structure. Classrooms and administrative offices will be housed in a separate building, which will contain an observation and control area with visibility of the entire site.
Accent on landscaping
The site, donated by a local benevolent foundation, is isolated from residential areas. Landscape development with earthen berms at strategically selected areas will confine smoke, water, fire and noise to the facility. Also, an ecologically sound effort to plant native prairie grasses with a mixture of wildlife plants will return the presently barren land to its original state.
The training tower will reproduce characteristics of different types of buildings, ranging from residential, institutional and mercantile to high-hazard industrial structures. Also included are provisions for high-rise building simulation with an elevator training device. The building has escape hatches, ladders, wells and other architectural failures along open, semi-closed and attic spaces.
Unique to this building will be a pressurized smokeless stair tower. A drafting pit inside the tower building will allow year-round testing of pumpers with equipment connections within the building.
Except for the copper roof of the tower portion, the training building roof will be of skid-proof concrete to ensure firemen’s safety during drills. The exterior walls for both buildings will be of a rustic-surfaced concrete block with accents of half timber construction. Together with the curvilinear parkways, walks, lighting and landscaping, all has been planned to enhance the park-like atmosphere of the architectural theme.
By excavating sufficient fill material to ensure ample protection against seasonal river fluctuations, a 1.5-acre lagoon will be created. This will serve as a supplemental drafting pit for pump training.
Other features of the complex include a 1-acre skid pad for training fire apparatus and police drivers; training facilities for flammable liquid, tank and electrical fires; and provision for vehicle extrication exercises. An outdoor instruction amphitheater has been included in the plans.
The administrative building contains offices, classrooms, locker rooms, a library, a service area and an observation tower with communications capability.
Requirements for the academy reflect the various requirements for protecting a growing population base. Planning has included local industries which have expressed interest in possible use of the facility for training employees.