West Point plans new $131M barracks for cadets

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by bruno, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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  2. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Must have approved back in at least 2006 or earlier or got a special treatment.

    Military construction approval to construction process is a multi-year process, so I doubt this new cadet barracks got approved in last few years.

    My guess is this is a massive renovation; as renovations, regardless how much it cost, are easier to gett approved and funded than new construction.

    I also don't see where they will build a new cadet barracks? It's not like they are going to tear down old barracks and build new ones in place.

    Hell, my class was 1400 +/- when we started and we graduate close to 1000+/-, so I don't see how West Point is more crowded than before?
     
  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    from the article

    "He says 40 percent of the Corps of Cadets has three people sleeping in a two-person room."

    Can any current cadet confirm this? I remember hearing a humor few years ago that high achieving cadets were given single room.
     
  4. lotrjedi13

    lotrjedi13 _

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    I don't know whether it is 40% or not, but just from personal experience, many of my friends have had to fit 2 people in a 3 man room, and I had to do so for 2 out of the 3 rooms I have been it at WP so far.

    This new barracks was mentioned to my class at a Comm's brief last year. He said (if memory serves correctly) that the new barracks will be a little farther up the hill behind Brad/Legion, part of which is a TAC parking lot right now.

    Also, he said that the new barracks would be built not only to provide extra space, but to allow the other barracks to be emptied on a staggered basis for renovations (their residents living in the new barracks), and eventually the Corps would grow into the new barracks.
     
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Is WP expecting an increase in their end strength?
     
  6. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    I can't speak for everywhere, but for my company this year 26/50 rooms are 3 in a 2 rooms. So that statistic is probably correct. I think that two of those might be 3 in a 3. The rest are 2 in a 2.

    It really all depends on company and barracks. I know of a lot of people who have had to do the whole 2 in a 3 thing.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yeah, yeah. And in the Civil War, everyone ate hardtack and socks were a luxury. Fortunately for us, progress is eternal.

    If you had the choice to house your Marines in new, updated barracks that improved their quality of life, or to crowd them into buildings that hadn't been updated in 30 or 40 years, what would you choose? I think you'd probably choose to do right by your Marines.
     
  8. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Yeah- I'm sure that the barracks need some upgrading- but the Army is in a world of hurt for funds right now- and this is a project that is a perfect example of why government is so hard to cut. It was programmed and authorized several years ago and now it has it's own momentum. In a time of head count reductions, weapon system cut backs and discussions of changes to medical and retirement benefits- should the Army really be funding $130 million dollars for new Barracks at USMA? To be blunt- it's a free university and most college dorms are not exactly the Waldorf. They should go see what their peers in grey are living in in Lexington VA. The
    USMA barracks are not that bad- in fact by comparison - they are pretty good. You would always like to get better quarters and better living areas, but how critical are they really? It seems pretty hard to justify that this is one of the Army's priorities right now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Has West Point close down some cadet barracks?

    (26 x 3) + (24 x 2) = 126. Assuming, that each company is similiar in size

    126 x 32 companies = 4032 cadets

    Perhaps I can't remember as I am old, when I attended West Point we had 36 companies and I was in the Lost 50s and Lee Barracks. I am pretty sure the Corps was bigger back in early 90's/ I don't recall any firsties or cows doing 3 to a room and a few plebes being in 3 to a room.
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    IIRC, they have I Companies again, so your math should be 126 x 36 = ~4500, though we know the Corps is ~4400, so the company size is the variable.

    Also, Cadets have not lived in the Lost 50s for about 10 years at least (unless they've been reopened).

    While we're all busy hating on WP for their "egregious" spending on these barracks, let's bear in mind that we have ZERO clue what the WP line-by-line budget is, what pot of money this came from, or (most importantly) what WP cut to sustain this project.

    I know it's a foreign concept on this forum, but perhaps we can all try to assume for once that we might not be the most informed on this subject, and that some pretty responsible and intelligent people were involved in this decision and more than likely asked some hard questions about it.
     
  11. DHinNH

    DHinNH USMA 1989

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    Unless things have changed, the only single rooms are the First Captain and maybe a couple of others on Brigade Staff.
     
  12. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    As far as I can tell, there are no I companies or least according to the USMA website site as of yesterday - Brigade Tactical Department Directory had A - H companies for each regiment. I would think the USMA website is up to date.

    I work in the government. Lately my thoughts have been don't spend it if we don't have to. A spending philosphy about the end of fiscal year spending - can't spent it next fiscal year and if we don't spend it we won't get it next year. So the ultimate quesiton is not about what line-by-line budget is, but do West Point need a new $131 million cadet barracks?

    As a tax payer, I have a right to question and express my opinion about my tax money is spent. I also like to think that I am intelligent, being a graduate of West Point and two masters degrees, not that degrees has anything to do with being intelligent.
     
  13. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Got me thinking,

    I have no clue on how much it costs to build a hotel, but

    $131 million, if we assume 4400 living spaces (this will be the maximum), $29,722 per living space (this will be the minimum). Of course there are other things bathrooms, storage, orderly rooms, rec rooms, and etc.

    Any construction expert like to chime in?
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    We always have a right to question it. We even have the right to do so with incomplete information and faulty assumptions. It may be more fun to gripe that WP is screwing the soldiers at other posts, screwing the taxpayer, blowing budget, pampering cadets, etc., but I think that we can be a bit more level-headed than that. We keep saying that WP should prioritize their needs in these austere times. Who's to say they haven't?
     
  15. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    One poster does not equal to "WE." At least for me, I was asking questions to better understand what's going on.

    I think "we" are being level-headed. There is nothing wrong with having different opinions. Neither Bruno nor TPG said that West Poin have not priortize their needs.
     
  16. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Scout- I don't get the "hating" on West Point line. I don't hate West Point and if the Army was flush- then have at it . But frankly I think this is politically tone deaf and IMO is a bad time to be spending money that isn't REALLY an Army priority. After last weeks budget/deficit debacle played out- I would think that the Military service's would be hypersensitive, but maybe they haven't quite grasped the magnitude of the onrushing financial steamroller.

    Against that backdrop- should the Army be spending money on a project like this? I know how projects get pushed and I know what passes for "hard questions" - rarely do the "hard questions" (to use your line) include really hard questions like: "How badly do we need this compared to someone elses priorities". That's not the government way. I understand investing in capital projects. But truthfully- unless the barracks are structurally really in bad shape or need major renovations- relieving perceived overcrowding in the USMA barracks is pretty fluffy in a time of rapidly oncoming serious budget constraints. (Overcrowding compared to what & who? I can think of a number of places that don't have nearly the number of applicants vying for available slots, so I can't see that it has affected their ability to gain and retain quality applicants. And- the school hasn't grown (and legally will not grow) so what changed to cause "overcrowding that they haven't been successfully coping with for quite some time?)

    The Army has real priorities it should be funding- maybe this is one, but it seems pretty hard for me to swallow. I personally think this is a case of "we got it authorized so lets spend it". I don't put that much credence in the "they rigorously prioritize this stuff" theory. I've seen too many new construction projects on bases that are on the list to be "Brac"ed to blindly believe that only the highest needs from the larger picture make it on the list.

    This is real money: To put this in perspective: while $131 million is chump change for Uncle Sam vice the Defense budget total (forget comparing it to the overall budget- it's not even a fart in a whirlwind:eek:) but by any other standard it's real money. It's 30% more than the entire budget request for the USMMA in 2012. It's 10% of the entire USCG requested Acquisition Budget for 2012 and 1-1/2% of the entire budget for the Coast Guard; and it is about the same amount that the Army has requested for replacing 15 Kiowa helicopters lost in Afghanistan and is only about 10% less than the Army has requested for upgrading the Kiowa fleet.

    Sorry- I don't hate West Point but I also think that this is really bad timing and reflects some curious and rather myopic priorities for the Army in an age where they are likely to wind up cutting back on mission critical equipment because of budget constraints. Maybe I'm wrong.I am not really interesting in getting into a huge forum flame war as I have a lot of respect for scoutpilot- so I'm letting it go here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  17. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    The I companies are back with this AY.
    The Lost 50's have been reopened .

    A few months ago, I heard the Supe speak about the new barrack and old barracks renovation.
    The welfare of the cadets is of great importance and concern to him.

    There are 2 issues here:
    1) Building a new barrack to alleviate over crowding
    - Many cadets live 3 in a 2 man room and it's not just the Plebes, the upperclassmen do too - for multiple semesters.
    Arguments can be made ad nauseum as to whether or not cadets should live in overcrowded conditions but WP thinks that it is unacceptable.
    - It's difficult to compare funding for cadet barracks and post barracks.
    Cadet barracks are considered training barracks while some post barracks are considered permanent barracks. Separate categories of funding for each.

    2) Updating the old barracks over the next 10 years
    Basically, health and safety is of concern -
    - the barracks are overcrowded and outdated with a failing infrastructure
    - major systems such as heat, sewage, water and electrical are past their lifespan
    - there is a mold problem which is a health concern and there is limited ventilation
    - water and weather infiltration in the barracks is a continual problem
    - the electrical system is outdated and overloaded as it was not designed to handle the demand of the cadet's computers (the 'newest' barracks are almost 40 years old).
    - only half of the barracks have sprinkler systems
    - the barracks are not equipped with adequate bathroom facilities for the female cadets
    - failing water lines have caused damage to the structures of the barracks as well as ceilings, walls, floors and electrical systems

    Maybe I'm just looking through parent's eyes, but I'm glad that the Supe is concerned about the living conditions of the USCC and supportive of a plan to rectify the situation.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Hating is a term of art. It doesnt mean you actually hate something...it means giving a hard time, or being especially critical. You know how us damn kids are ;)

    I think buff81's perspective is spot-on. Trust me, the Kiowa fleet is near and dear to my heart. But those are totally different pots of money. We're comparing apples and motorboats if we start talking about facilities investments versus weapons systems.

    Not to add too much fuel to the fire, but the cure for austerity is not to steal from the future by failing to invest in capital projects. It's to fix our revenues. If we want to avoid the hard times, we can see where the money went. It sure is nice that the only creditable savings have come from defense, and the biggest expenditure was high-income tax breaks.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  19. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Amen to that.
     
  20. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I'm not sure I see the relevance of those charts- the point is that the military and all of the federal budgets are going to be reigned in regardless of who you see as responsible for the size of the debt and deficit.
    As far as which bucket it comes from: that's government accounting but the rest of the world doesn't (and shouldn't see it that way). It's an artifical - "only in the government" way of looking at money:They aren't really independent buckets- they are all coming from the same source (the Defense budget) and just coded differently. But at the end of the day - it's all one bucket and it's an expense whether it comes from the right or left pocket.

    Story from WAPO yesterday (Below) is the new reality- you don't see buckets being mentioned in this story. Bottom line- Defense $$ from whatever bucket are suddenly pretty darn precious items and feel good items (as opposed to critical items) need to be sacrificed. Now Buff81 has posted some valid reasons why this might be a fairly high priority- failing infrastructure can rapidly be as big a cost as new construction. But again- I really think that, having gone thru the USMA barracks beaucoup times- urgent is not the word I would use to describe this need. Bluntly- they are a lot nicer accomodations than many other college rooms that I have been in, and they are sitting in the middle of a showpiece University with a fair amount of state of the Art facilities already, and one which is FREE to the students and which advertises that the value of an appointment to USMA is worth >$400k (they will be regretting ever sending out that number- it's bogus and you only arrive at it by taking all of the salaries, benefits, of staff- most of whom are AD Army and presumably would still be on AD if they were employed at other postings).The point is- these are the most expensive colleges in the country already- not such an enviable place to occupy in times of a budget crunch and they want to drop $130 million more? Nobody is quitting USMA because they have 3 in a room- it just can't be that much of an emergency. Again - maybe I'm not informed of the overall scope of the barracks crisis at USMA, but unless it really meets the "urgent" criteria- this one ought to go on the backburner IMHO.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...8/08/gIQAUdYY2I_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

    I'm out of here, this is my last post on this one- the Army is either going to spend $130 million on this or not and I'm not planning on burning my bridges with those who have other opinions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011

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