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Ravinia Fire Station Redevelopment | FAQ

Ravinia Fire Station Redevelopment

The Ravinia Fire Station (Station #32) was constructed in 1929 as a sub-station. The Station has undergone several major remodels over the years in order to accommodate changes in service delivery. Remodels have consisted of changing interior station configuration, expansion of the bay doors, removal of the fire pole and center support column between apparatus doors to accommodate larger vehicles, and various upgrades to incorporate American Disability Act (ADA) requirements. The Fire Department has outgrown the station and creates challenges with internal operability, lack of efficiencies and service delivery.

In 2015, an internal location study was conducted based on response times and it was determined the best location for a station is within the Ravinia Business District. In 2016, the City worked with Williams Architects to identify the needs of the Fire Department and allow the Department to improve its service delivery for public safety purposes. In 2017, the City sought community input on the redevelopment of the fire station. Redeveloping a fire station that allows the department to provide emergency response services in an efficient and effective manner is of utmost importance. A station that is compatible with the neighborhood in terms of design and scale and provides appropriate landscaping and lighting in the neighborhood is very important. Below are a series of questions and answers pertaining to this project.

Questions & Answers

1. Why does the station have to be replaced?

The Ravinia Fire Station was built in 1929 and originally designed for a single engine response with two personnel. In 1966 this station responded to 127 calls for service. In 2019, 50 years later, this station responded to over 1900 calls for service. This station currently operates with four personnel staffing an Engine and Ambulance. Advancements in modern day firefighting and EMS equipment have proved challenging due to the size of this equipment. There is only 3-4” of clearance between the station ceiling and the roof of the fire engine. This is a serious concern since we are utilizing low profile engines so they can fit in the station. The limited foot print of the Ravinia fire station is not conducive to call response, training, and maintenance of equipment. A new station would provide accommodations for female firefighters as well as providing an ADA compliant building. The City is interested in designing and constructing a public safety facility that will serve the community for the next 100 years.

2. What is the service area for the Station and will it change?

The City has three fire stations whereby each station has 10 response grids that are the primary response areas for those stations. The service area for the Ravinia Fire Station will not change. Ravinia Fire Station responds on average to 1,850 calls for service per year.

3. Why do we need the amenities at the proposed new station that the headquarter station already has?

The City seeks to construct a fire station that will serve the public for many decades. A fully functioning station will provide for improved public safety operations and increased efficiency. For example, Ravinia Fire Station has to remove themselves from service every time they travel to headquarters for training, to dry their hose after an incident and to obtain supplies.

4. Please provide a breakdown of calls by Department.

In 2018, Ravinia Engine 32 and Ambulance 32 responded to 1,970 incidents. The Fire Department had 5,556 total calls for service in 2018.

5. Why are there so many calls out of this station compared to 50 years ago?

Population changes, automatic fire alarm responses, and emergency medical service calls that weren’t Fire Department responses 50 years ago.

6. Why is a 6-minute response time important and where is this is standard derived?

A primary goal of the Fire Department is to deliver a firefighting force on the scene of a structure fire before the fire reaches the flashover stage. A flashover occurs when the temperature in an area is high enough to ignite all flammable material simultaneously. Once a fire reaches flashover, the threat to life safety of both the citizens and firefighters is greatly increased. When the Fire Department arrives on the scene of a structure fire, there are a variety of tasks that must be performed in a coordinated effort in order to have a successful and safe outcome. In the emergency medical field, the time frame of six minutes is one that has been used for years to determine a standard of care for delivering lifesaving techniques. Once the brain has been deprived of oxygen for greater than six minutes, the chances of survival are greatly decreased.

7. Is the response time of 6 minutes or less affected when there is a train?

The Department strives to maintain a response time of 6 minutes or less even when a train is present. Crews will take alternative routes with an underpass if a train is blocking an intersection.

8. Will response times be affected during construction of the new station?

No, plans will be put into place to ensure that response times will not be jeopardized during construction.

9. Is there a map depicting the response times from the other two HP stations?

Yes. Copies of these maps will be posted on the City’s web site at

10. What do the abbreviations EMS, GIS, and ADA mean?

EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services. EMS provides out of hospital care for those with an illness or an injury. GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. GIS is a mapping technology that allows the user to create and interact with a variety of maps and data sources. GIS integrates databases with georeferenced spatial data (maps tied to specific known locations). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life. There are very specific building requirements for property owners and contractors to ensure that buildings are constructed and in compliance with the Disabilities Act.

11. What is the difference between a Squad and Truck?

A Squad is a special operations vehicle that carries tools and equipment for heavy rescue. Most notably a squad carries the “Jaws of Life.” The crew of a squad is responsible for gaining entry to vehicles, equipment, and structures. The Squad can also operate as an engine whose primary focus is fire suppression.

A Truck is a specialized vehicle that has a hydraulically operated 100’ ladder. The Truck also carries various size ground ladders. Basic Truck company operations include forcing entry, search and rescue, ventilation, providing ladder egress for victims and firefighters, over-hall (searching for hot spots), and shutting down utilities. The Truck also has a pump that is used during defensive operations where large amounts of water are needed for extinguishment of large/difficult fires.

12. What location options were considered?

The City explored Kennedy Park, north end of Brown Park, the current location, and the current location expanded to Pleasant Avenue. Response maps for coverage have proven the ideal location to be in the vicinity of the current location which is 692 Burton Avenue. It was determined in 2017 that acquisition of private property would not be pursued for the planned station redevelopment.

13. What happened to the 2009 plan to consider relocation of the station to Kennedy Park?

In consideration of Ravinia Festival traffic, the entry and response challenges from Clavey Road, and projected emergency response service times to the district, it was determined that the current location was the optimal site for the station.

14. Would you consider relocating in Brown Park south of the tennis courts?

The current location which transitions from the business district to the neighborhood is ideal. Constructing a fire station deeper in a neighborhood creates challenges due to noise and response. The Fire Department prefers responding to incidents using commercial roads versus neighborhood roads. On commercial roads the Fire Department has control of the flow of traffic by use of Opticom, a traffic signaling device that gives control to emergency vehicles to stop opposing traffic and allowing emergency vehicles to safely navigate intersections.

15. Have you considered two buildings, one for emergency response and the other for other uses?

Response times are a critical piece to station location and configuration. A two building configuration would not be conducive to reducing or even maintaining current service levels. Maintenance of two buildings and duplication of dispatch notification equipment would be cost prohibitive.

16. Have you considered the 7-11 property that is privately owned?

The 7-11 property is no longer an option and is planned for private redevelopment.

17. Can you build a station across the street?

Conceptual drawings were prepared to build across the street in Brown Park. Use of the Brown Park site is one of the options being considered for the new fire station.

18. Is there any other site that could be used to build this station?

Multiple sites have been evaluated however the response times from the current location has proven to be the most desirable. The goal of the Fire Department is to respond to all incidents in 6 minutes or less from the time a call is received. Moving the station further west increases the response times to the east creating challenges that are difficult to overcome.

19. One concept plan contemplates the purchase of two adjoining single family homes.

What if the homeowners don’t sell their property? The City is able to use the existing footprint of the property for a new structure without having to purchase the two private adjoining properties. No acquisition of private property is planned for the new fire station.

20. Are there other area stations that are comparable in scale?

There are multiple area stations that are comparable in scale to what is being presented for the future of the Ravinia Fire Station. Station 19 in Deerfield, Station 12 in Northbrook and Station 6 in Glenview to name a few. The conceptual drawings for Ravinia Fire Station are in line with “best practices” and address public safety needs for a fire station.

21. What is the height of the current station?

The current station is 31 feet. 25. What is the proposed height of the building? The proposed height of the building would be in compliance with the City’s Zoning Code, Zoned R6, which is 30 ft.

22. What is the estimated square footage of the proposed fire station?

The anticipated square footage of a new modern fire station would be 11,000 square feet to 14,000 square feet. Most of this space is used for the apparatus bays.

23. Identify the benefits, challenges and features of the larger site plan compared to the two-bay site plan?

Three Bay Plan Advantages:
  • Storage for additional front line vehicle
  • Training room for personnel
  • Storage and equipment space to meet future demands
Two Bay Plan Challenges:
  • Dormitory would be located on the second floor which hampers response times
  • The crew would call themselves out of service more often thereby placing greater strains on area stations; the crew would be called out for training and to get larger equipment and supplies, in part.

24. What will the third bay be used for on the proposed plan?

Storage for reserve apparatus, training in adverse weather conditions, and housing for an additional ambulance that is primarily used during the Ravinia Festival season.

25. Is the old fire station going to be demolished?

The City will explore sale of the structure to relocate it to another site if there is interest by a private developer. The City has explored recycling the bricks from the old station and incorporating them into the design of the new fire station.

26. What will happen to fire safety services during construction if the station is built on the same site?

The Fire Department will be 100% operational during the construction of the new station. During construction, auto-aid agreements with neighboring communities will be enhanced to ensure public safety standards are met. Temporary facilities would be pursued.

27. Is the parking lot west of the station shared with Walgreens?

The parking lot west of the station is a City parking lot; it is not shared with Walgreens.

28. How will water runoff be managed?

The City will adhere to all drainage requirements in the development of a new fire station. Permeable surfaces for parking will be considered as part of the plan.

29. Would Pleasant Avenue still dead end at the alley?

Yes, the City does not intend to open the street to through traffic.

30. Where would the fire vehicle access point be for the new Station?

The fire vehicle access point will remain the same as the current fire station. All apparatus will exit onto Burton Avenue.

31. Have you considered an underpass at Roger Williams?

An underpass at the intersection of the railroad tracks and Roger Williams has not been considered. At this time, traffic considerations do not warrant a study of this intersection.

32. Will green building or sustainable building practices be considered?

Yes, the City will evaluate environmentally responsible and energy-efficient building practices for the new fire station including design, construction, operation, maintenance, and demolition.

33. Why can’t you construct an addition to the existing station?

To meet the current space needs of the Fire Department, the reconfiguration and addition to the current station would be as expensive if not more expensive than building new.

34. What is the approval process for a fire station?

The City will adhere to its plan design and development process which includes formal review and consideration by the City’s Plan & Design Commission and final approval by the City Council. In advance of the formal planning process, the City has planned to obtain public feedback before further planning commences.

35. How long will this take to build?

The construction of a new fire station is currently on the City’s 10 year capital improvement plan schedule. The earliest the construction would take place would be 2021. Plans and designs developed today will be viable when the station is constructed. The City will explore the plans that do not include acquisition of the two single family homes. The formal planning process will take approximately 9 months which includes review by the Plan & Design Commission and City Council final consideration. The estimated construction time is 9-10 months.

36. How much is this going to cost?

The cost of a new fire station is dependent on the square footage of the building. When constructing a public safety building, technologies for public safety such as dispatch alerting and mobile network support are included in the costs. The costs will also vary dependent of the location, engineering, and future technologies. A rough estimate based on similar fire stations built in neighboring communities is approximately $450 per sq. ft. Preliminary cost for the construction of the new station is $7.5 million.

37. Will my property taxes be increased to support this project?

No, an increase in property taxes is not anticipated to offset the design, engineering or construction costs of the fire station. The City will incorporate these costs into its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

38. How can I stay abreast of this project?

If you have any questions, you may contact:

Ghida Neukirch, City Manager


Larry Amidei, Fire Chief Chief