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UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY,
West Point, N. Y., September 25, 1900. The board of officers appointed to consider and report upon the capacity of the present plant of the United States Military Academy, has the honor to report as follows:
An adequate presentation of this subject requires that it should be considered under two general heads: (1) The character and condition of the existing plant; (2) the nature of the present and future conditions it is called upon to sustain.
A summary of the structures constituting the Military Academy and post of West Point is given in the table below. Barracks (1 cadet, 1 band, 1 engineer, 1 army service, 1 cavalry, 1 artillery) 6 Academic building
1 Headquarters building.
1 Mess hall
1 Hospitals (1 cadet, 1 enlisted men).
2 Store (cadet quartermaster).
1 Riding hall
1 Memorial hall.
1 Ordnance laboratory
1 Quartermaster's carpenter and blacksmith shops
1 Quartermaster's storehouse
1 Equipment shed and commissary storehouse
1 Post exchange
1 Gas houses..
2 Gas tanks.
3 Government stables
2 Livery stable
1 Bakery ..
1 Filter houses.
2 Water house.
1 Officers' quarters (sets for married officers, 41; sets for bachelor officers, 16). 57 Detached enlisted men (single sets, 6; double sets, 25; quadruple sets, 5)
36 Employees and master of sword (single sets, 3; double sets, 2; triple sets, 1, including master of sword, Kinsley House, 1)
7 Band leader..
1 Guardhouses (south gate, general, cadet)
3 Bath houses (cadet, soldier). Boiler house (for heating buildings near cadet area)
1 Cold-storage (one at present used for storehouse and temporary stable)
3 Waiters' quarters (at Mess Hall)
1 Laundries (cadet and hotel)
1 Children's schoolhouses.
1 Boathouses and pontoon house.
4 Firing house, magazine, two shot houses (at water battery)
4 Wooden structures for miscellaneous purposes..
26 Exclusive of outbuildings, reservoirs, and batteries, the Military Academy and post of West Point consists of 163 structures.
The aggregate of the appropriations for the buildings which have housed the Academy during the first century of its existence is about $2,700,000. These structures have been erected by the authority of Congress at irregular intervals from the founding of the Academy in 1802 to the present day, to meet the immediate requirements of the institution as it gradually grew with the development of the country. At the beginning of the second century of its existence we find that only two of the buildings erected for the use of the cadets are of sufficient size to accommodate the corps as enlarged by the recent act of Congress. A brief analysis of the principal buildings will show the limitations of each and the enlargements which are absolutely essential.
THE CADET BARRACKS.
The cadet barracks, which replaced the old brick barracks of 1815 and 1817, was erected in 1851, to meet the growth of the Corps of Cadets; an addition was made to it in 1882. It is a four-storied granite building of imposing appearance, costing about $186,000. As it now stands the barracks has 180 rooms, each designed for two cadets. In addition to the above it has quarters for 4 bachelor officers. As the Corps of Cadets now numbers 429, it necessitates the placing of three cadets in each of 69 rooms. Even were quarters constructed elsewhere for the above 4 officers, the barracks would have but 192 available rooms, of accommodation for 384 cadets. The number of cadets present being 429, and the maximum number authorized by law being 481, it will be seen that an increase in barrack accommodations is absolutely essential.
The system of heating is direct radiation from a central plant by steam coils of various patterns of obsolete type. This style of heating without artificial ventilation is most pernicious and requires thorough renovation.
The basement is now a damp, unwholesome space, divided into waste rooms used for rubbish and storage. The bathrooms and sinks are combined in a separate building erected of late years in the area. This plan is inconvenient and objectionable. Those who may be sick or partially invalided are compelled, in inclement eath to go through snow and rain to reach them. Modern sanitary plumbing renders it perfectly safe to place the sinks and baths in the basement of barracks, a change which would render available for other purposes the space in the area of barracks now occupied by these buildings.
THE ACADEMY BUILDING.
This is a granite building constructed in 1892 at a cost of $480,000, which houses all the departments of academic instruction. It will accommodate 500 students, and therefore requires no enlargement under existing circumstances.
THE CADET HOSPITAL.
The hospital is a granite building, constructed in 1874–1880, but never completed; only two of its four wards have been constructed. As at present constituted the regular wards will accommodate 18 patients, and an inadequately equipped convalescent ward can be made to hold 12 more, making a total of 30. The hospital accommodations are manifestly inadequate, and the building should be completed so as to provide for 50 patients. In addition to the hospital, there should be a separate and entirely new building for infectious diseases; there is at present no provision for such cases.
THE RIDING HALL.
The present riding hall, erected in 1855, is a granite structure with wooden trussed roof, 218 by 78 feet.
For instruction in riding the classes are necessarily divided into sections. The third class is divided into four and the first and second classes each into two sections. To enable the instruction given in the hall to be thorough and to progress with effective rapidity, it is found that the size of a section should not exceed 24 cadets; 32, however, can be accommodated by making the exercises slower, and with a corresponding loss in the extent of instruction. With the increased strength of the Corps of Cadets, as recently authorized, it is probable that after the present year the maximum strength of a section of the first and second classes will vary between 50 and 60 cadets. The capacity of the riding hall should therefore be doubled.
The hall is now badly heated and lighted. The lack of proper heating causes the tan bark to freeze and cake in winter, and the defective lighting interferes with the instruction.
THE MESS HALL.
The mess hall, a granite building erected in 1850, will seat 340 cadets, but has a cooking capacity for 300 only; its plan, however, admits of indefinite extension. There are accommodations for a force of cooks and attendants for 340 cadets. Seating accommodations for 89, and cooking arrangements for 129 cadets are lacking under existing conditions, and also provision for the necessary increase in cooks and attendants. The mess hall and kitchens should be so enlarged to accommodate at least the maximum number of cadets now authorized by law (481).
The chapel is a granite building erected in 1836 with a seating capacity of 428, just sufficient to accommode the present number of cadets. As there are also present for duty 73 officers and instructors of the institution, together with members of families and friends, besides a considerable number of civilian employees, the chapel accommodations are much too small. If there be added to this the fluctuating and sometimes very large body of general visitors, it will be seen that provision should be made for a congregation of not less than 800.
The library, a granite structure, is now being remodeled; when completed it will be adequate for the present and future needs of the institution.
This building, a granite structure, was erected in 1891, and has a floor area in the gymnasium proper of 6,300 feet. It will not properly accommodate for purposes of instruction sections of over 40 men at one time. The fourth class is necessarily divided into three sections, each of which at present contains 60 men. The floor area should therefore be increased one-half. In addition to this provision is needed for increased machinery, storage, dressing rooms, enlargement of swimming tank, and the various other accessories of the gymnasium.
The observatory is a granite structure erected in 1882. Its accommodations are ample for the present needs of the institution.
THE CADET LAUNDRY.
The present plant can properly do the work for 250 cadets during the summer, running ten hours per day, and for 400 cadets in the winter, running eight hours per day. Provision should be made for at least 375 cadets during the summer and 481 during the winter. It is desirable also that during the heated spell the hours of work should not be excessive and that the plant should do all the work easily under normal conditions.
THE CADET STORE.
The present building has a capacity for properly supplying 300 cadets. It should be able to supply the authorized maximum of 481.
THE CADET GUARDHOUSE.
This is an antiquated brick building containing 11 small rooms, which are used for the following purposes: Offices for the commandant of cadets and his 8 assistants, 3 clerks, and cadet officer of the day; a guardroom, engine room, and tool room. Provision should be made for 9 officers, 3 clerks, room for the guard, room for orderly musicians, and for 6 armories, and 1 storeroom.
THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. This is a granite building erected in 1871. It contains the offices of the Superintendent, the adjutant, and the quartermaster, and is the depository of most of the records of the post. Many of the rooms in this building are overcrowded and an increase in floor space is very desirable.
THE SUMMER ENCAMPMENT.
The present summer encampment has a capacity of 140 tents, accommodating 280 cadets. To accommodate properly the maximum number of cadets likely to be in camp, under the present authorized maximum strength (481) of the corps of cadets, 46 additional tents will be required. This will provide a tent for every 2 cadets, the maximum number which can be put in a tent without crowding and discomfort.
The additional ground required for the encampment can be obtained by razing the parapet and filling in the ditch of Fort Clinton, and by removing and transplanting a number of trees north of the present camp.
THE OFFICERS' QUARTERS.
The buildings occupied by the officers of the Military Academy as quarters are of every variety of type, construction, and material, and of all ages-from the earliest days of the Academy to the present date. The most substantial are those occupied by the Superintendent and heads of departments; some of these are of stone and the rest of brick. They are all old structures, some of them dating from 1816. The remaining houses are of brick or wood and have been variously altered and added to. Upon the older buildings very much money has been expended in repairs, and as the appropriations for repairs cover the entire plant of the institution it is impossible to make thorough renovations. As a consequence repairing by driblets goes on from year to year at a very large aggregate cost and with only temporary results.
None of the older sets of quarters are up to the standard of modern domestic architecture either in plan or conveniences, and as a rule are very far below the standard adopted in the quarters recently erected by the Government at army posts.
For bachelor officers convenience and economy are best subserved by arrangement in suites in a single building. There are now 23 bachelor officers assigned to the Academy; for their accommodation there is but one such set of bachelor quarters, designed for 8 officers. The other bachelor officers occupy rooms in the cadet barracks and in the quarters of married officers. With less active military operations than at present the proportion of bachelor officers will tend to increase and a building providing for about 20 suites should be erected on a convenient site adjacent to the mess building.
There are at present available 41 sets of married officers' quarters, many of which are small, inadequate, and without modern conveniences, and others of the grade of cheap tenements and entirely unfit for occupancy. As there are 50 married officers on duty here, there is a balance of 9 unprovided for. Temporary arrangements entailing great inconvenience and risk to health have been effected to meet the present embarrassments. Nine sets of new quarters are required to properly provide for immediate needs, aside from all questions of removal and replacement of old sets. The quartermaster reports that at least 7 of the old sets should be immediately removed and replaced by new ones, and in this the board concurs.
THE BARRACKS FOR CAVALRY DETACHMENT.
The present brick building will accommodate 95 men, which is sufficient for all present needs, but its location is such that it will interfere with any enlargement of the riding hall, and should be moved to another site.
THE STABLES FOR CAVALRY HORSES.
The present brick stables provide stalls for 116 horses. The number of horses required is determined by the size of the first and second classes. All of the first class and half of the second class are required to attend squadron drill together. This will demand at least 160 horses in the near future. Stabling, therefore, for at least 44 additional horses must be erected. These stables also interfere with the enlargement of the riding hall, and should be moved to another site.
THE ENGINEER BARRACKS.
This brick building was completed in 1858; it has a capacity of 50 men-the strength of the company when it was erected. The authorized strength of an engineer company is now 150. The necessity for an enlargement is apparent.
THE BARRACKS FOR ARTILLERY DETACHMENT.
In 1900 Congress authorized the organization of an artillery detachment of 40 men. A brick building formerly used as a barracks for the quartermaster's detachment, and subsequently for other purposes, is available for temporary use; it requires renovation.
Stables suitable for the horses of this detachment can be provided temporarily by utilizing a stone building now used as a mule stable, together with the present livery stable; both require renovation. As these are temporary and inconvenient expedients, both as regards location and character of building, new barracks and stables on a suitable site should be provided.
THE BAND BARRACKS.
The band barracks is a brick structure which has accommodations for 25 men. The legal strength of this organization being now 40 men, increased barrack accoinmodation is necessary. Suitable barrack accommodation is also needed for the squad of drummers and orderlies, whose authorized strength is 24 men.
THE ARMY-SERVICE BARRACKS.
The army-service detachment occupies a brick building which has barrack accommodation for 80 men. The authorized strength of this detachment is now 125 men.
THE COMMISSARY BUILDING.
The old equipment shed, now in part used as a commissary building, is remote, inconvenient, and unsuited to the purpose. For administration purposes it would be desirable to house the commissary, meat contractor, and post exchange in a single building constructed for the purpose.
THE QUARTERMASTER'S SHOPS. The care and repair of the existing plant and the erection of many minor constructions fall upon the quartermaster of the Academy. This is already a large and responsible work, demanding experience and ability in the officer having it in charge. It is not only economical but necessary to the Government that this class of work be done in its own shops, and the necessity for a competent plant is imperative. The present enlargement of the Academy increases this work, and a corresponding increase in the plant is demanded. This would include an extension to the carpenter, saddler, blacksmith, plumber, and tinsmith shops, as well as an extension to the lime sheds and storehouse, whose capacity is already inadequate. It should be borne in mind that this post is a small town, the policing and current repairs of which are done by the members of an army-service detachment, which is comprised of laborers and mechanics of all trades.
THE WEST POINT HOTEL.
The hotel was erected in 1829 and has been added to from time to time It is composed of a main building of stone, stuccoed, a brick wing, also stuccoed, and various wooden additions. The present structure is deficient in accommodations, obsolete in appointments, and defective in plan. In order that the hotel may fulfill the object for which it was designed, it requires a material increase in size and complete remodeling.
The old stable is in very bad repair and unfit for its uses, besides occupying a position which is unsightly and inconvenient. The group of buildings of which it is a part, together with the old gas works, should be removed to a more suitable site.
THE WATER SUPPLY.
The recently constructed Lusk reservoir, designed to relieve the needs of conditions then existent, is inadequate to meet any additional demand, and the rapid increase of consumption recently brought about gives the question a very serious aspect. Any considerable diminution in rainfall, such as characterizes a moderate drought, would produce a water famine.
It is a matter of vital importance that the only available source of supply in this vicinity-i. e., Long Pond-should be immediately purchased before further increase in the price of land and before vested rights in it as a source of supply shall have been acquired by others. In the latter case its acquirement might be impossible, and the future needs of the institution as regards water supply would present insuperable difficulties.
STEAM HEATING AND LIGHT.
The existing arrangements for heating public buildings are inadequate and unsystematic. This results naturally from the spasmodic nature of their growth and extension, one building after another having been attached to a plant originally small and located with reference to a special building.