Dr. Christine Altendorf, the newly-appointed Director of Military Programs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completed a full day of site inspections at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, learning more about the New York District’s expansive military construction mission there.
In-between site visits, Dr. Altendorf commented: “I’m having the most fabulous tour seeing all the great work you [New York District] are doing as it relates to engineering, design, construction and industrial hygiene. Name the topic, you all [Army Corps of Engineers] are doing it and it’s coming to fruition at places like West Point.”
Hosted by the West Point Area Office, Dr. Altendorf began the day meeting with Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, superintendent of the Academy, and other West Point officials for an overview of construction. She also attended presentations from New York District’s Christopher Reinhardt, chief of military programs, and Richard English, area engineer. Interactive presentations sparked in-depth discussions about past projects, those under construction, and others being planned.
Project Site Tour
Accompanied by Army Corps North Atlantic Division Commander Brig. Gen. Thomas Tickner, New York District Commander Col. Matthew Luzzatto, Chief of Construction Matthew Ludwig and West Point officials, Dr. Altendorf embarked on a comprehensive tour of construction projects. At each site, Army Corps employees provided an overview of work.
Central Power Plant
The first stop was the Central Power Plant where a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system is being installed ─ incorporating a modern computer-controlled system with a 200-year-old system to support a 1000-ton steam chiller regulating temperature for West Point buildings. Workers here discussed a water-quality challenge they’re tackling.
To that end, Dr. Altendorf inspected a table with nearly 30 water samples collected at different points in the system. She learned about collaborative efforts to resolve the issue: West Point’s Chemistry Department provided input on testing and calibration to increase accuracy, and New York’s Christopher Ford, project engineer, and Benjamin Brand, quality assurance construction manager, supplemented analyses with additional testing data.
Diana Trombly, project manager, said: “We’ve had several meetings with the subject matter experts to explain the background of the projects, current water treatment processes, and issues encountered. We also reached out to the West Point installation for data, including test reports from the water treatment plant.”
Cyber Engineering & Academic Center
The New York District is also preparing to construct a Cyber Engineering and Academic Center that will replace outdated facilities and provide cadets with hands-on core courses in science, technology, engineering and math. At this site, Erik Jarger, resident engineer, explained the new facility will have 136,000 sq. ft. of modern academic space along with an option for collaborative space with scenic views of the Hudson River and a bridge to Mahan Hall. Jarger and colleagues emphasized to Dr. Altendorf that construction during the first year will be intense: Blasting and excavating approximately 340,000 cubic yards of rock to ensure the site is adequately prepared for construction.
Then it was on to Bradley Barracks where Timothy Cain, a mechanical engineer, led inspection of nearly $113 million in renovations expected to be complete in early 2022. On the 5th floor the group entered a cadet dorm room under construction where Cain briefed Dr. Altendorf on occupancy, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, and air ventilation. In another part of the building, Cain pointed out that West Point barracks’ renovation projects are incorporating women’s facilities as well.
During the walk-through at Eisenhower Barracks, Evan Sick, a mechanical engineer, told Dr. Altendorf about coordinating with multiple stakeholders to ensure a quality product. Built more than 50 years ago (1968), renovations include a complete remodeling of the existing structure, floor plans to better utilize space, and new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. When complete, $86 million in renovations will provide housing for up to 750 cadets.
Academic Building Upgrade Program
Walking towards Lincoln Hall, Diana Trombly, project manager, briefed Dr. Altendorf about Academic Building Upgrade Projects (ABUP), a 17-year program restoring and modernizing numerous facilities critical to West Point’s mission. Trombly spoke about Cullum Hall scheduled for renovations later this year, delving into details about design challenges renovating a structure built over 120 years ago (1898). She also discussed work planned for Lincoln Hall (currently in design stage) that will house the West Point Admissions Office, Multi-Media Department, Cadet Store and Staff Judge Advocate.
The group then moved to West Point Cemetery ─ America’s oldest military post cemetery and National Historic Landmark attracting thousands of visitors each year. The focus here is expansion, including reinforcement of the hillside it sits on. Robert Hanna, project engineer, said the expansion will cover five acres, provide space for nearly 3,500 service members and a columbarium wall (a structure serving a retaining wall and with space for remains.) Renovations also include an expanded maintenance building, new lighting and security systems, entrance gates, and vehicle and pedestrian access roads.
Golf Course Clubhouse
The final stop was a site where a 14,000 sq. ft. Golf Course Clubhouse will be erected. Anthony Jara, project engineer, said the project was 20 percent complete and will replace the previous clubhouse in the same location. Jara also spoke about the challenges posed by a mile-long utility installation and COVID-19. When complete, the clubhouse will feature a lobby with gas fireplace, administrative offices, a patio seating 75, banquet room seating 150, snack bar and pro-shop retail area.