The City of Kaplan came to us with a request to design a Safety Complex and Park which would house the Fire Station, City Court, and PoliceStation. These were to be constructed in multiple separate phases due to funding, but be housed on the same block and, preferably, under “one roof”. The location was to comprise the footprints of the existing fire station, city courtbuilding, and an adjacent building. The final stage of this multi-phase processwas to revamp the existing park located at the rear of this internal city blockand make it an area of solace and comfort for the citizens of Kaplan.
The most pressing issue was the structural failures occurring at the existing fire station and the adjacentCity Court building. Many years earlier, oak trees were planted along the boulevard in the “front yards” of these buildings. During the many years since their planting, the trees greatly desiccated the soils beneath perpetuating a destructive cycle that threatened to thoroughly undermine the building's foundation. We removedthe trees in front of the fire station, and nearly 5’ of desiccated soil, to create a stable foundation upon which to build our new facility.
The Owner requested that we expand the garage to hold six (6) trucks, create a larger interior space, and allow the Kaplan Fire Station to serve as the hub for meetings of all of the Vermilion Parish Fire Departments. In addition, should it be necessary during hurricanes, this building will serve as the central office of operations for fire and rescue for Vermilion Parish. The final design kept with the character of the downtown area in stark contrast to the “butterfly-roof” of the previous building. It does not impose itself, but rather, blends with the current construction and serves the functional purpose of its design: to protect and serve.