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Why West Point?

The New Visitors Center Will Answer

In an era of declining Department of Defense resources and potential reductions in our military, we will be asked to restate in the most eloquent and cogent manner the national value of West Point.”  So says Lieutenant General David Huntoon ’73, the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, when asked about the need for a new facility to introduce visitors to West Point.  “A new West Point Visitors Center can serve as a principal means to respond to that question by telling our story in a compelling way to everyone who comes to the Academy.” For this reason, the Superintendent has made the funding of a new Visitors Center a top priority for the Academy.

In order to solidify the answer to “Why West Point?” the West Point Association of Graduates is seeking funding to build a new Visitors Center of nearly 15,000 square feet to tell the West Point story. Envisioned as a 21st-century “Experience Hub,” the new West Point Visitors Center will feature a striking entry pavilion, high-tech exhibits, state-of-the-art theaters, and new artifacts for its more than 250,000 annual guests to enjoy.  The center will also employ the latest architectural innovations to capitalize on natural light and existing terrain, it will be re-oriented to take advantage of the scenic power of the Hudson River, and it will allow for a possible future connection to the nearby West Point Museum (the center’s exterior massing will harmonize with that of this existing facility).

The new Visitors Center would join the legion of “must see” West Point attractions, such as the Cadet Chapel, the Cemetery and Trophy Point.  Moreover, visitors who had a positive experience at the center might be motivated to explore some of the other activities and venues that West Point has to offer, such as sporting events, Eisenhower Hall productions, or Cadet Parades on the Plain (and they might start following West Point online by visiting its websites or its social media pages).

Uniting our nation’s military past with the bold, new direction of the Army’s future, West Point occupies a singular place in American culture. The proposed Visitor Center will be the Academy’s singular place for more than two million tourists over the next decade to learn about the role West Point’s military training and educational curriculum play in America’s present and its future. As the familiar saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression; the new West Point Visitors Center will make that chance count.