project information


  • SIZE - 6,323 SQUARE FEET

  • COST - $2.27 MILLION


Fire Chief Rick Marinelli approached JKA with a formidable challenge; design a durable, functional new station for half the budget of a typical new fire station. The Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District operates in rural San Diego County and battles some of the fiercest wildfires in the state. Their old and dilapidated facility was hampering their operations, however, as a volunteer station the District had limited capital for a new station. Instead of declaring it cannot be done, the design team rolled up their sleeves and devised strategies to decrease construction cost without sacrificing the longevity of the facility. Major points of savings were the use of a pre-engineered metal building for the detached apparatus bay, as well as incorporating basic but durable materials throughout both buildings such as polished concrete floors, cement board siding, and an FRP wainscot that mimics diamond plate in the apparatus bay. Several bid alternates were worked into the design for a wide range of amenities that the station needed, but could live without in order to stay on budget. Generous community donations allowed for the purchase of several items from this bid alternate list after construction began. The program included 2 apparatus bays, turnout lockers, extractor room, 3 offices, a training room, day room, kitchen, public and crew restrooms, and bunks that could house up to 14 crew members during a major fire event. The training room, dayroom and kitchen were designed to be flexible and can be used as both meeting and living spaces. A copper colored standing seam metal gable roof tied the two buildings together, as well as into the rural neighborhood’s historic mining town context. Politely dubbed “the little fire station that could,” the team was able to deliver a functional new fire station to the District that matches the lifespan of much more expensive projects.