- What is it?
Military installations include some of the most historically significant properties in the American cultural landscape. West Point, the Presidio of San Francisco, Cape Canaveral, and Fort Sam Houston, for example, are associated with persons, events and trends that profoundly influenced the course of our nation's history. As with any landscape, the military landscape reflects the history and cultural traditions within which it has evolved. The breadth of historic building management for the Army is enormous. The Army now has over 58,000 buildings and structures that are 50 years old or older, and therefore subject to the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act. This includes nearly 12,000 buildings that are officially designated as historic properties and 21 National Historic Landmarks.
- What has the Army done?
The Army and DoD received three Program Comments for Cold War Era Unaccompanied Personnel Housing, World War II and Cold War Ammunition Storage Facilities, and World War II and Cold War Army Ammunition Production Facilities and Plants. The program comments cover 35,000 Army buildings and fulfill the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) compliance requirements for an entire category of undertakings. In this case the actions covered include renovation, demolition, transfer, sale or lease from Federal ownership for a particular building type. Combined with the 2002 Program Comment for Capehart-Wherry family housing, these Program Comments address current NHPA compliance responsibilities while addressing future growth of buildings subject to NHPA. The estimated cost avoidance for the three program comments is $25 million.
The Army has developed two computer programs to provide cost analysis alternatives in managing historic buildings during their life span. The Layaway Economic Analysis (LEA) software calculates expenses for renovation and reuse, layaway and/or mothballing, and demolition. The Window Econometric compares repair and replacement costs for windows.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed a computer program that can be used to assess different options for facilities, including historic facilities - ECONPACK. Certainly more than economics should be taken into account when decisions about historic buildings are being made. Nevertheless, economics serve as a crucial starting point; they yield results that can be easily understood and compared.
- What does the Army have planned?
The Army will continue identifying and evaluating historic military landscapes and preparing the documentation required for nominating sites and districts for the National Register.
- Why is this important?
Due to the Army’s massive World War II and Cold War era real property inventory, the Army is facing a significant challenge in historic preservation compliance, as close to 100,000 buildings will be subject to NHPA over the next 20 years.
- Read more about it:
Program Comments for Cold War Era Unaccompanied Personnel Housing, World War II and Cold War Era Ammunition Storage Facilities, and World War II and Cold War Era Army Ammunition Production Facilities and Plants
Historic Context on Army Ammunition and Explosives Storage During the Cold War (1946-1989) (Unrestricted version) (6.88mb PDF)
Report to Congress on Historic Army Quarters (72kb PDF)