Grant Barracks, Hall reopen after renovation

August 20th, 2020 | News, News and Features
West Point conducts a ribbon-cutting ceremony to recognize the reopening of Grant Hall at West Point Friday. The official party consists of (left to right) Joe Kokolakis, president, J. Kokolakis Construction; Maria Hoagland, GM Culinary Group, U.S. Military Academy; Brig. Gen. Curtis A. Buzzard, Commandant of Cadets; Col. Tom Hansbarger, director of Cadet Activities; Maj. Matthew Pride, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District Office; and Frank Bloomer, deputy director, DPW, USMA. Photo by John Pellino/USMA PAO

By Dave Conrad
USAG West Point Public Affairs

One of West Point’s oldest barracks reopened this week, following the completion of an Army Corps of Engineers project, which began in December 2018.
Grant Hall and Grant Barracks were both modernized under the ACOE “Barracks Upgrade Program.”
The project encompasses almost 125,000 square feet and includes the removal of asbestos and all lead-containing materials, roof and window replacements, restoration of historic items, exterior repairs to the existing masonry, new furnishings and, most significantly, new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, according to a media release from the ACOE.
“After the renovation, the barracks will have a more traditional layout,” Tim Cain, the project engineer, said.
Although the building will house fewer cadets, the new layout includes collaboration rooms, a more integrated floor plan and upgraded cell reception, improving the quality of life in the building.
“The new floors are terrazzo instead of the old tile, so they’re more durable,” Cain said.
Along with new flooring, the living quarters and rest rooms have all been upgraded with modern lighting and amenities. The building has granite outer walls, covering inner brick construction and new blast resistant windows.
Cain said that the new air conditioning system is probably the biggest quality-of-life improvement, but it wasn’t the biggest challenge.
“We dug out the courtyard for new water and other lines, and we found what looks like a buried building,” he said.
As part of the upgrade, the Corps of Engineers also renovated the restaurant in Grant Hall.
“For the Grant Hall restoration, we brought in artists to strip the old paint and recreate all the unit insignia and other historical features throughout the hall,” Cain said. “The goal was not to make it look new, but to restore it to its original appearance.”
Grant Hall is the site of the original Cadet Mess, built in 1852. It officially reopened Saturday, but a ribbon cutting ceremony was held the day before bringing together the many agencies that worked on the project.
“Thank you everyone for being here as we reopen Grant Hall, marking another milestone in our infrastructure modernization efforts and honoring one of our most notable leaders from the Long Gray Line,” Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Curtis A. Buzzard said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This renovation project is part of our multi-year Cadet Barracks Upgrade Program. It is the result of some incredible teamwork across the West Point enterprise.”
The updated Grant Hall has multiple new restaurant offerings including a PJ’s Coffee and “flex-mex” restaurant Burrito Bowl.