Over the past few months, visitors to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York may have noticed construction on a large, white domed structure that sits behind the campus baseball field, next to the library. This 20,000-square-foot temporary facility, known as the General Instruction Building Swing Space, will provide professors and cadets with office and study space while surrounding buildings are being renovated.
Academic Building Upgrade Program
The Swing Space facility is part of West Point’s 17-year Academic Building Upgrade Program, a renovation effort that will modernize eight facilities that are between 50-110 years old. The Swing Space is conveniently located near the southern end of the campus in the midst of the academic buildings that will soon be renovated.
The renovations will contribute to Army readiness by maintaining modern academic facilities that will help develop West Point cadets into the Army’s next generation of leaders. The Department of English and Philosophy will be among the first departments to move into the Swing Space while other buildings are undergoing renovations.
“The General Instruction Building Swing Space facility will help deliver critical academic, military, and character development programs at West Point, ensuring collaborative space for cadets and faculty while older facilities are being renovated,” said Briana Bloomer, contracting officer’s representative.
Bloomer is part of a small team that manages the project, which includes resident engineer Michelle O'Donoghue and quality assurance representative Edmee Conroy. The team works on-site, meeting with the contractor on a daily basis to review contract schedules and submittals, ensuring that the project progresses on schedule and within budget, while adhering to strict environmental, structural, and mechanical quality control standards.
“I’m excited to be working on this project,” said O’Donoghue, adding, “This is the first time in my 13-year career with the Corps that I’ve been part of an all-women construction team.”
New York-based contractor FOS Development Corp. has transformed a formerly empty 1.2-acre field into the site of a massive metal-framed tension fabric structure designed by Sprung Instant Structures.
Construction on the structure is well underway. The contractor began by pouring a concrete foundation, setting up 41-foot-high aluminum framing ribs, and installing 9-inch-thick insulated fabric panels between each rib. Next comes laying out the office structures, assembling the mezzanine structure above the ground floor, and installing a lift for easy access.
The building’s arched design echoes the Gothic revival architecture of the historic campus buildings, which are characterized by vaulted windows, ornamental details, and towering, fortress-like facades.
Although the Swing Space structure is temporary, it will be fully equipped with plumbing, electrical, fire alarm, and telecommunications services. Inside the building, there will be open workstations, enclosed offices, conference rooms, and a range of breakout, huddle, and support spaces to host collaborative activities. Above the building’s ground floor, the free-standing mezzanine will offer additional space for professors and students to gather.
Construction of the Swing Space facility began earlier this year in May 2022 and is scheduled to be completed by May 2023, with an overall cost of $5.8 million.
Over the course of the next 17 years, the Swing Space will host academic departments from the surrounding buildings, ensuring that teaching and learning can continue uninterrupted for West Point faculty and students.
Once all renovations in the upgrade program are complete, the Corps will remove the Swing Space facility and restore the site of construction back to an open, grassy field.
“I’m proud and honored to represent the New York District on this project,” said Bloomer. “We look forward to opening the General Instruction Building Swing Space facility to professors and cadets next year.”