On June 6, 1944, American and allied forces, stormed the beaches of Normandy, France and liberated Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. The invasion was one of the largest military assaults in history. The day, known as D-Day was considered the beginning of the end of World War II.
U.S. Army Five-Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces was influential in bringing the war to an end, especially with the planning and execution of D-Day. He later became the 34th President of the United States.
The 75th Anniversary of D-Day will be on June 6, 2019 and coincidentally a barracks named after Eisenhower is being renovated and will be completed for the anniversary.
Eisenhower Barracks is located at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where Eisenhower graduated in 1915.
The renovation work is being performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. The academy is modernizing its barracks under the West Point Cadet Barracks Upgrade Program. The Program involves the renovation and modernization of nine existing or “legacy” cadet barracks and facilities, including Eisenhower Barracks that was originally built in 1968.
“The Army Corps is delivering a modernized barracks. Renovations will increase space and decrease costs,” said Caitlin Slattery, project manager, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The renovation includes a complete gut and remodel of the existing structure and the floor plans will be optimized to utilize space in a more practical way. The building will also be outfitted with completely new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
The Eisenhower Barracks is unique from other barrack renovations in that the building is connected to Washington Hall - a multi-purpose facility which includes academic rooms, office space and the primary dining facility.
“As such, the Army Corps is required to take extra care to ensure minimal disturbance to ongoing operations essential to the academy’s daily life,” said Slattery.
When completed, the 235,040 square foot, multi-story barracks will have 314 rooms to sleep 612 Cadets, along with 16 Tactical Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers. All will have access to two laundry rooms.
To assist the Cadets with their academics, each Cadet company will have Collaboration Rooms that will allow them to meet in large numbers to work on group projects or participate in team building activities.
Cadets will also have such amenities as water bottle filling stations in the hallways and work stations equipped with cable connectors and power supply between computers and devices - Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports.
The barracks will also get something that it didn’t have before – air conditioning.
Many of these new and upgraded features will be energy-efficient making the barracks Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certifiable.
For example, high-efficiency, low flow plumbing fixtures will be installed that will reduce water use by more than 40 percent.
The inside of the structure is being modernized and the exterior’s Gothic revival architecture is being maintained in order to blend in with the rest of the historic 200-year old campus.
The barrack’s original granite exterior is being maintained and repointed to waterproof the building.
Slattery said, “Repointing is when the joints of brick or stonework are repaired by filling in with grout or mortar. The primary purpose of this is to prevent water from infiltrating into the building.”
In addition, the building’s large parapet stones - that sit along the perimeter of the roof - are also being removed to replace the flashing.
“Flashing is typically a strip of metal which is used to prevent water from penetrating the junction of a building's roof with the surrounding areas,” said Slattery.
In addition, the sidewalk or “Troop Walk” facing the flat expansive area where the Cadets march, will be finished to match the sidewalk on the opposite side at MacArthur Long Barracks, thereby preserving the historic atmosphere of the area where the Cadets complete the famous U.S. Military Academy parades.
“The renovation will provide the Cadets a more comfortable and modern space for daily life, which will allow them to spend more time focusing on their course work and other obligations,” said Slattery.
The barracks is expected to be completed by summer 2019 and available for occupancy that fall.
Leaders like Eisenhower, helped end a war and bring freedom to many people. Part of who he was stems from the education he received at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
In order for the Academy to continue to be a world-renowned leader development institution, the Barracks Program will ensure that it grows and adapts to the Nation’s future challenges.