Academy marks completion of Bancroft Hall renovation


A nine-year, $250 million project to renovate Bancroft Hall, the Naval Academy's sprawling dormitory, was declared complete yesterday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony inside its ornate central rotunda.

Workers refurbished the Beaux Arts building's original interior, stripped out toxic materials such as lead and asbestos, modernized mechanical and electrical systems, and installed 1,600 miles of wires to equip the dorm with a high-tech computer data network.

"Today is not just the completion of a renovation of a building - today is the completion of the soul of our naval service," Col. John R. Allen, the commandant of midshipmen, said at the morning ceremony.

Vice Adm. Richard J. Naughton, academy superintendent, snipped a dark ribbon with big red scissors. "Calling this an ambitious project would be an understatement," he said, after noting that the work required 1 million square feet of drywall, 7,200 cubic yards of concrete and 68 miles of pipe.

The renovations were led by Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and RTKL Associates Inc., a design firm.

A separate project to air-condition the 1.4 million-square-foot building isn't likely to wrap up until 2008, an academy official said.

The 4,000-bed dorm, designed by architect Ernest Flagg in 1899, is the largest dormitory in the world. It houses a mess hall, reception rooms, doctors offices, barber and tailor shops, student store, a post office, and medical and dental offices.

It last underwent major renovations about 40 years ago.

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