In Hayward, Calif., the city has just broken ground on a new and unique project: a fire station with a health clinic built in, CityLab reports.
Designed by WRNS Studio, the Firehouse Clinic will encourage local residents with limited healthcare access to consider them as an alternative to the emergency room, especially for preventive care.
To further this goal, the clinic will stay open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and patients are guaranteed appointments within 72 hours of their request. While the clinic will share the fire station's property, the building will be separate. With seven exam rooms and 2,400 sf, the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency expects 5,000 new patients to come through the clinic in its first two years.
"Essentially the idea is that fire stations, and fire fighters, are a trusted entity in the neighborhood," said Kyle Elliott, partner at WRNS Studio in San Francisco. "There's an EMT on site, typically, in a fire house. It makes a good symbiotic relationship to place a clinic adjacent to a fire house."
WRNS Studio's initial design was considered for multiple stations in Alameda County, given that it assumed an available parcel of land next to the fire station. According to Elliott, the firm hopes to encourage this model in other communities, since every community has a fire house and needs healthcare.
"Our job was to crystallize a vision, not the vision, and to articulate the guidelines and principles to think about," Elliott said. "There were discussions about investigating something added onto an existing building, or reusing a part of an existing building. Those are very plausible solutions for communities."