From stadium renovations to visitors’ center, former AFA chief provides update on Gleneagle Sertoma plans | The gallery

COLORADO SPRINGS • The landscape of the US Air Force Academy will see many changes in the months and years to come, says one of its former superintendents.

The Academy’s 18th Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, spoke at a recent event hosted by Gleneagle Sertoma, a service club dedicated to serving the needs of the local community through service volunteer. At the Oct. 28 event at Topgolf in northern Colorado Springs, Gould’s presentation on current and planned major infrastructure projects at the academy was the main attraction.

Gould, who is now director of the Air Force Academy Foundation and the Association of Graduates, explained how organizations are working to improve the academy and its cadet resources with major infrastructure projects. Gould, who served as an adviser to President George HW Bush, served as director of the academy for four years and after his retirement the Foundation asked him to return as director.

The Alumni Association is the association of the academy’s alumni and the AFA Foundation is its fundraising arm. These are separate organizations that haven’t really gotten along well in recent years, Gould said.

“Our task now is to bring these two groups together to meet the needs of the graduates to develop that affinity and the memories of what this school has done for all of us,” he said. “Our mission is to bring the herd together and reconnect it with the school.”

One of the many Foundation projects described by Gould was a six-phase initiative to renovate and modernize Falcon Stadium, the structure of which has not been updated since 1962, when the Falcons football team scored his first touch. Gould said match attendance at the stadium has declined in recent years, but support for the cadets should be felt from the community up and down the Front Range. He said the facilities lack the modern amenities that families expect when considering spending their money on entertainment.

This project will require significant fundraising and cause some debt to the athletic department, Gould said, but the return on investment is expected to support cadet activities.

Lt. Gen. Michael Gould (retired), director of the Air Force Academy Foundation and the Alumni Association, displays a design for the Falcon Stadium renovations, one of many projects the foundation is pursuing for the ‘AFA, its cadets and the Front Community of the range.

“It’s not just football, guys. That’s the whole show, from the parachutes to the support team, to the support team, the drum and bugle corps, ”he said. “These cadets have earned that respect, and that’s why we’re going to show it to them by renovating this stadium.”

Another project, which began in August, was a cutting-edge hub for cyber-innovation, which Gould said is expected to be completed in about 18 months. The cost of the project is around $ 60 million, nearly half of which was collected by the Foundation in matching funds. The initial funding came from government construction funds.

A facility designed to house the US Space Force Academy is also in the works. Gould said the current superintendent, Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, said the academy needed a “place for space” to ensure the SFA is built in Colorado Springs. The architects got involved to create a design and vision for the facility, he said. At the moment, the project is in the early stages of planning, consisting only of a PowerPoint presentation and a bulletin board. However, private citizens have expressed interest in helping its construction funds.

“We want to make sure the Space Force Academy is right here across the street,” he said. “We have almost $ 16 million not in pledges, but in offers of help. It will become a reality.

Finally, Gould presented plans for a new AFA Northgate Visitor Center, comprising a full-service four-star hotel, shops and offices, and a visitor center with a flying wing-shaped roof.

“Every director of the academy since 2001 has said that we need a visitor center near the highway, where summer traffic can see it and enter to visit it without having to go through checkpoints and to have their truck checked, ”Gould said.

The hotel and visitor center would be tucked away between I-25 to the west and outside the academy’s north security gate, remaining on government-owned land. The project is the product of an improved lease agreement, under which the government leases the land to the developer. Hotel, office and retail activity as well as tax incentives would fund the visitor center. Gould said the developer agreed to donate the visitor center to the AFA after its completion.

The project is priced at $ 55 million, and Gould has said it could start by the end of the year. As the bonds go up for sale along with a lot of interest from the dollars invested, the Foundation believes there should be enough funds to start tillage and complete the project by 2024, the Lt. general.

“It’s been a very complex financial arrangement,” Gould said. “It’s not one of the Foundation’s projects, but we help the developer along the way. “

Gleneagle Sertoma’s goal is to support people with hearing and communication disabilities by partnering with national and local hearing and communication organizations including HEARS, Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Home Front Cares, Tri-Lakes Cares and Mission Medical Clinic.

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