As Silas Bowman walks through the Camp Buckner cadet barracks at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he’s reminded of his years at West Point. “As a major and a lieutenant colonel in the Army, I trained cadets here.”
Now retired from the Army, Bowman is back on campus as a project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District. He manages the Camp Buckner revitalization project, overseeing the five-year renovation of 38 buildings that serve as cadet barracks during the summer.
Camp Buckner lies to the west of West Point’s main campus, just off State Highway 218, part of a 16,400-acre heavily wooded training area. Originally built in the late 1940s, Camp Buckner’s barracks will be updated to address structural issues and relocate sleeping quarters and latrines into separate buildings.
The $61 million renovation of Camp Buckner is part of a modernization effort known as the West Point Military Complex Development Program. This program will upgrade military training areas to allow cadets to train year-round.
Every cadet must spend 3-4 weeks at Camp Buckner during Cadet Field Training in their second summer on campus. There, they learn basic military skills including live fire, hand grenade, and patrolling tactics that will prepare them for their future careers as U.S. Army officers.
“The Camp Buckner facilities contribute to Army readiness by preparing cadets for situations they may encounter in the field,” said Bowman. “By renovating these aging facilities, we are improving the health and safety of cadets during training.”
The renovation process has been completed on 12 buildings so far, with an additional 12 buildings underway. The contractor guts the barracks to allow structural repairs, beginning with the repair or replacement of concrete foundations and pillars beneath the barracks. Roofing and exterior metal wall panels are replaced, and new thermal insulation, energy-efficient windows, and air conditioning is installed. Workers also upgrade electrical, plumbing, and fire suppression systems, and replace restroom and shower fixtures.
“I had the opportunity to stay in the newly updated bays during Cadet Field Training this summer, and I feel that they made my training experience a lot more enjoyable,” said Class of 2025 Cadet Michaela Capicotto. “Going through hot days and nights in the field and then coming back to the air-conditioned bays was one of the best parts of staying there.”
The project is divided into four phases, with the last phase scheduled for completion by 2026.
Phase 1, consisting of 12 buildings, was completed earlier this year at a cost of $15 million. Cadets were able to use the newly-renovated facilities during Cadet Field Training this summer.
Phase 2 work on an additional 12 buildings began in June 2022. The project will continue through the winter and will be completed in August 2023, at a cost of $18 million.
Phase 3 renovations of 10 buildings will begin in early 2024. Its anticipated completion is Summer 2025, at a cost of $19 million. Another $9 million is allocated to Phase 4, the final four buildings, to begin construction in Spring 2025 with an estimated completion by Summer 2026.
Funding for the renovations has been authorized by Congress, which supports West Point as one of five federal service academies operated by the military.
“Over the next few years, the New York District will complete the renovation of the Camp Buckner training facilities,” said Bowman. “I’m honored to be part of a project that will play an important role in modernizing West Point’s training mission and preparing cadets to lead our future Army.”