3/4/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Preliminaries to the construction of a training facility for the Air Force Academy's Center for Character and Leadership Development are moving along briskly, and construction is expected to begin in late summer.
The building will occupy much of the space on the Honor Court between Harmon Hall and the entrance to the Terrazzo. Even though it currently exists only in conceptual images, it is already being called an "iconic facility."
"The building's importance is twofold," said Terry Edwards, director of the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment. "It allows the Academy to meet the number-one goal of prepping more than 4,000 young men and women annually to be future Air Force leaders. Also, it will be a symbolic representation of USAFA's culture and the Air Force."
Mr. Edwards was interviewed for an article in Centerviews, a quarterly magazine of the Center for Engineering and Environment. The center, commonly referred to as AFCEE, oversees the design and building of all military construction projects in the Air Force.
Part of the reason the leadership training facility is being described as iconic is that it is modeled on the design of an existing architectural icon, the Academy Chapel. Once it is built, the Academy's two structural icons will be adjacent to each other.
Aside from the Holaday Athletic Center, which is under construction now, the CCLD training facility will be the first major structure built in the Cadet Area since the years immediately after the Academy was founded.
People interested in bidding on the project attended a site visit Feb. 3 so they could obtain the necessary information such as an overall description and project specs. Bids are still coming in, and the next step in the process will be the awarding of the contract.
"The project is being executed as a traditional design/bid/build, where the contractor is given a specific set of drawings and specs to construct the facility," said project manager Russ Henderer.
He also said that because of the high visibility of this project, AFCEE has established a local office at the Academy to manage it.
To make way for the CCLD facility, the memorials, replica airplanes and statues that are now at the north end of the Honor Court will be moved farther south. And because the building will be outside the entrance to the Terrazzo, it will be open to the public.
With the impending construction of yet another new cadet facility at the Academy, enthusiasm is building, both among Academy officials and AFCEE workers.
"We are very excited to be given this opportunity at the Academy," Ben Kindt, construction programs chief for AFCEE, said in an interview with Centerviews. "And we will continuously strive to provide first-rate service as we work ... to build this world-class facility."