Army awards $85M contract to build new Army War College academic building

By Public Affairs Staff    01 April 2020

'Aerial view' of model: Army War College's new academic building, adjacent to Collins Hall (right)

The Army announced that Manhattan Construction Co., Arlington, Virginia, was awarded an $85,407,155 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a new four-story, 201,000 square-foot general instruction building to support the U.S. Army War College. Bids were solicited via the internet with six received. Work will be performed in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of March 29, 2023. Fiscal 2020 military construction, Army funds in the amount of $85,407,155 were obligated at the time of the award.

Foundation work is expected to begin as of April 1, 2020.

The USACE military construction program at Carlisle Barracks will create the future, fiscal 2021 USAWC strategic learning center. This new Army War College academic hub will support multiple strategic education programs and enhance the College’s international leadership in developing strategic leaders and influential ideas.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W912DR-20-C-0007). The Baltimore District supports the Army through a military design, engineering and construction management program for Carlisle Barracks and 14 other military installations in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The new Army War College academic building will be a multi-story 201,604 square foot building with four large lecture halls which can be converted into a 600-person auditorium, seminar rooms divisible into break-out rooms and various configurations, conference rooms, private instructor offices, counseling rooms, library/resource center/computer lab, administrative offices, and reception areas.

“Thanks to the great efforts of the Garrison team and a lot of the USAWC staff, we will see a 200K square-foot building fully funded with all the options fundable at this point,” said Commandant Maj. Gen. John Kem. “The original USACE timeline was to finish design late this year to be awarded by the Fall – so we drove at least a 6-9 month earlier start because the collective group here was always ready with quick answers and thinking ahead.”

The US Army Garrison at Carlisle Barracks in partnership with the Baltimore USACE office led the planning process. With the USAWC planners, they pursued value engineering reviews that substantially reduced anticipated costs while enhancing the building’s usage. Faculty of the Army War College have been involved in identifying recommendations for space usage that will enable and enhance new initiatives in teaching methods.

The current Root Hall was constructed for the Army War college’s 1960s-era throughput of 200 resident students annually.The new building will be a modern learning space, designed to create opportunity to support in new ways the desired senior leader learning outcomes:peer-to-peer problem-solving; creative and experimental thinking; visual, kinetic and active learning habits; values-based decision-making.

“Your (great) grandfather’s war college” circa 1966, educated 200 Army officers in fixed seminar rooms with a single common table and chairs configuration designed for socratic discussion. Today, the signature resident war college class includes 380 students, engaged not only in discussion but in small group problem solving, case studies, exercises, gaming, and new initiatives in learning methodologies.

Since its construction in 1966, the College –

  • Added the Distance Education Program in 1978 with additional faculty; Distance Education now averages 380 students for two 2-week resident phases annually
  • Almost doubled the Resident Education Program class size; current quotas set by Army G3: 270 US military students + 30 DOD, DA, Interagency students + 80 international officers; the size of the IF annual cohort doubled from 40 at the 2009 direction of the Chief of Staff of Army
  • Received Basic Strategic Arts Program (BSAP) mission, teaching the qualifying course for Army FA59 Strategists
  • Accepted mission to provide executive education, the Nominative Leader Course, for nominative 1- and 2-star level command sergeants major
  • Tasked to manage education for all Army General Officers, all components, and deliver the mandatory courses at the brigadier, major, and lieutenant general level, as well as several specialized courses

In 2018, USACE validated Root Hall deficiencies and rated renovation as infeasible; it recommended the new USAWC “general instruction building” as the most cost-efficient option. In 2019, USAWC managed the design phases, value engineering, and building site subsurface evaluation for the foundation.

The Army War College educational programs are expected to shift to the new academic building Nov 2022-Feb 2023.

The significant impact of this new building will be enhanced student learning outcomes. Here’s how a building plays into learning:

To that end, the building was developed thoughtfully, learning from new educational spaces at multiple universities and modern workplaces, to be a purpose-designed learning environment. The building will offer flexible space for self-directed, collaborative work;informal space for active engagement; multi-purpose; virtual; interdisciplinary; real-world Service-oriented faculty-guided leader learning and development.

The new building will be positioned adjacent to Collins Hall. The current parking lot in front of Collins Hall will become open space linking the two buildings with green space. Co-location of the new building and the existing Collins Hall will enhance opportunities to for collaborative work, leveraging Collins Hall’s unique capabilities for gaming, experimental and experiential learning and its secure conferencing and collaboration. The current academic building, Root Hall, is planned to be demolished; not cost-effective for academic purposes, it will not be cost-effective to turn the building to another use.

Initial actions are expected within weeks; that work will displace some parking in order to create a major transformation of the academic experience for all USAWC students.

Watch the Carlisle Barracks weekly sitrep on this site ( for continuing updates about traffic and parking.

Planning for next academic building serving leaders and learning at the U.S. Army War College.
Artist's rendition of the Army War College academic building. Foundation construction will begin soon for a Winter 2022/ Spring 2023 occupancy by USAWC students.


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