In early December 2020, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced that New Jersey-based construction firm Dobco, Inc. had been chosen to build the new Cyber and Engineering Academic Center (CEAC) at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.

Here's a look at the design and bid process for this major project and the timeline for its completion — as well as the emphasis on cyber engineering skills at West Point and the importance of this field to the military overall.

Award-winning design by Jacobs-EwingCole joint venture

Architecture firms Jacobs and EwingCole joined forces in designing the innovative CEAC building. As EwingCole noted, "it was conceived with an eye towards innovation, collaboration, and the tradition and history of West Point Academy simultaneously."

The CEAC will support scholarship and hands-on experience in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and provide space for cadets across three departments:

  • Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
  • Systems Engineering.

As a solution to academic space shortages and outdated facilities at West Point, the CEAC will include 59 flexible laboratory spaces designed to support interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. These facilities will support project-based learning within the USMC's cyber, robotics, biomechanics, systems design and infrastructure specialties.

The building will be crowned with a rooftop colloquium space for hosting notable speakers, with views of the Hudson River. There will also be an enclosed pedestrian bridge connecting the CEAC to Mahan Hall across the street. Underground parking facilities for up to 450 vehicles will be added as well.

The Jacobs-EwingCole JV design was chosen for the Society of American Military Engineers' 2020 Planning, Design and Studies Merit Award.

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

$137.8M bid awarded to build this 136,000-square-foot space

Bids were requested online in June 2020, and the DOD noted that four firms responded. The project falls under the purview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New York City, and the firm-fixed-price contract was awarded at $137,836,600 to Dobco, Inc.

The state-of-the-art facility will add 136,000 square feet of STEM learning and teaching space to the USMC campus. To prepare the site, 300,000 cubic yards of granite must be carefully removed without disturbing the surrounding academic buildings and barracks.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Dec. 11, 2020 — just one week after the bid was awarded. The project is slated for completion by December 2024, and is expected to support the attraction of new talent to West Point over the next several years.

The importance of STEM education for the battlefields of the future

In an increasingly digital era that presents many new and yet unknown vulnerabilities, the Army and the nation must be prepared with cutting-edge technological skills.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' request for proposals, the CEAC will play a critical role in "enabling USMA Cadets to experiment and develop new and emerging technologies that will enable the United States Military to remain at the technological forefront of new battlefields, both physical and digital."

"The facility will profoundly and positively impact our mission to develop our graduates who will lead with character in a changing, uncertain and technology-driven world," said Brig. Gen. Cindy Jebb, Dean of the Academic Board, when CEAC broke ground. "We are thrilled that it will serve to attract quality talent across cadets, faculty and staff in an increasingly competitive higher ed landscape."