U.S. Air Force Academy invites public comment on new visitor center project

  • Published
  • 10th Civil Engineering Squadron

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY. Colo. – The 10th Civil Engineering Squadron at the U.S. Air Force Academy published a public notice inviting the public to comment on the new visitor center project near Interstate 25 and the base’s north gate, Sept. 14.

The notice to the public read as follows:

Notice of availability, cultural resources management USAFA, new visitor center near I-25

The Academy’s built and natural environment involves numerous historic properties subject to provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended.  When undertakings planned to support the Academy’s mission have potential to impact such properties, Section 106 of the NHPA requires the Academy to collaborate with various stakeholders.  This process includes offering awareness to the public for an opportunity to express views, as well.  General information on the NHPA and the role of the public can be found at https://www.achp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2021-01/CitizenGuide2021_011321.pdf

The Academy has ongoing Section 106-related planning for construction planned for the TrueNorth Commons/Gateway Visitor Center project near the Academy's North Gate, in vicinity of I-25.  The project's visitor center phase of development appears to have potential for adverse effects regarding two historic properties, a proposed USAFA-wide National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) District, termed 5EP.595, pertaining to the landscape associated with the Academy's original design by Skidmore Owens & Merrill architectural firm; and the Cadet Area National Historic Landmark (5EP.4680, listed in the NRHP April 1, 2004).  Both of these historic properties may receive indirect adverse effects, such as view-related impacts, from the project's visitor center component regarding

(1) the height and mass of the proposed visitors center,

(2) the visitor center’s design and materials, and

(3) the visitor center’s potential for light reflectivity. 

The Academy has developed a draft plan to resolve these adverse effects by mitigating the expected impacts.  Mitigation may involve some form of interpretive display(s) regarding the history of the Academy’s creation.  The final plan would become expressed as an amendment to the project's Section 106 Programmatic Agreement (PA) produced in 2019.  

This amendment to the project's PA is at a draft stage where views of the public are welcomed.  Comments or questions, including requests for a copy of draft amendment, may be directed to email address 10CES.CENPP.Planning_Programming@us.af.mil with subject line stating "ATTN CR Manager" or by regular mail to "ATTN CR Manager, 10 CES/CENP, 8120 Edgerton Drive, USAFA, CO 80840”.  Please send communications, if any, within 30 calendar days following publication of this announcement.