The prospective increase in the number of midshipmen at the Naval Academy will accentuate certain needs which have been felt for several years, and will result in an acute shortage in some facilities. Something must be done to provide for these shortages and it is desirable that the whole problem should be considered in its entirety. This is especially true now because President Roosevelt has just proposed a new program of emergency public employment, which he intends to base on certain practical principles, as announced in his message to Congress, including:
- All work undertaken should be useful—not just for a day, or a year, but useful in the sense that it affords permanent improvement in living conditions.
- Projects should be undertaken on which a large percentage of direct labor can be used.
- Preference should be given to those projects which will be self-liquidating in the sense that there is a reasonable expectation that the government will get its money back at some future time.
The additional facilities and additional buildings for the Naval Academy are needed now and a start should be made upon them as soon as practicable so as to meet another principle mentioned by the President, “the planning of projects would seek to assure work during the coming fiscal year to the individuals now on relief, or until such time as private employment is available.”
It is important to decide upon a plan in ample time to permit the responsible authorities and the architects to study the practical and local needs in the new buildings. In the erection of some of the present buildings the architects drew their plans without proper provision for some of the practical requirements of the Academy. Furthermore, it is highly desirable that the final plans for all the buildings be drawn by good architects and that all of the new buildings be approved by the Washington Fine Arts Commission before their erection.
The purpose of this paper is to make some suggestions. The writer does not pretend to have made an exhaustive study of the question, and he does not claim that any of the suggestions given represent fa any instance the best possible solution of & portion of the problem. It is hoped, however, that these suggestions will lead to discussion, and that discussion may lead to action. If action is taken the responsible authorities can determine the final details of an efficient plan and can proceed accordingly.
With the prospective increase in the number of midshipmen there will be three very urgent needs which must be met in some manner. These are: (1) Additional playing fields or recreation grounds. (2) Additional small boats and mooring space for them. (3) Additional classrooms or section-rooms.
(4) Before the ultimate increase is possible it will be necessary likewise to make additions to Bancroft Hall, the midship men's quarters. When this is done same extensive overhauling of the two older wings of the building will also be necessary in order to provide more healthful living conditions for the midshipmen. New plumbing should be installed throughout these wings.
(5) For many years certain other facilities have not been adequate, and the increased number of midshipmen will accentuate these needs. For fifteen years the annual boards of visitors have recommended the provision of additional officers’ quarters, and they should have been provided long ago. Now that President Roosevelt is particularly interested in the permanent improvement of living conditions and the provision of better housing facilities, it is hoped that the junior officers ordered to Annapolis for duty will be able to live in government quarters. This is the ideal time to provide proper quarters at Annapolis, and the importance of building such quarters cannot be overemphasized.
Other urgent needs at the Academy include:
(6) A new and larger auditorium, one large enough for all reasonable needs.
(7) A new and larger building for the Postgraduate School.
(8) Additional space for the library.
(9) Proper quarters for the museum.
(10) Additional file and storage space for the administration building.
(11) Additional storage space for the supply department.
(12) A shops building for the department of buildings and grounds.
(13) A “field house” for the indoor sports.
(14) A new and larger stadium.
(15) A planetarium.
No attempt will be made in this paper to cover all the details of these questions, because the details would not interest many readers of the Proceedings. But the general ideas on which this proposed plan is based will be set forth briefly.
The daily routine of the midshipmen is such that it is very important for them to have exercise and recreation in the open air. With the present number of midship eh and the present layout at the Academy there is a shortage of playing fields. With an increase in numbers additional space for recreation grounds will be imperative, and if such areas are to be used they must be within reach of the midshipmen. The possibilities for such spaces are distinctly limited, and Fig. 1 seems to cover the only available areas. The filling in of Dewey Basin would not be very costly, and it would add one good playing field. The acquisition of the three city blocks between Hanover Street and King George Street would provide additional playing fields. The removal of the present Postgraduate School building would add to the available space on Lawrence Field, and the building of a new stadium in West Annapolis would release Thompson Field as a practice field. This question is one concerning the health and morale of the midshipmen and it must have first consideration.
The acquisition of the three city blocks inside King George Street would straighten the Academy wall and would improve the general appearance of the city of Annapolis. Not every building within this area is an offense to the esthetic sense, but, in the aggregate, the effect is not pleasing, and the destruction of the buildings which now occupy this portion of the city would be in line with the President’s program for improving housing conditions. Incidentally, the city is now engaged in building a modern sewerage system, and it has been learned that this area will require special lines and an additional pumping plant. In other words, if this area remains outside the Academy grounds it will practically require a complete sewerage system of its own, at heavy expense. This plan proposes that the historic Peggy Stewart House be preserved and used as the quarters for the chaplain of the Naval Academy. The house is now a private residence.
The filling in of Dewey Basin would necessitate the provision of new mooring berths for the sailing boats and pulling boats. The increased number of midshipmen will require more boats of both types, as well as additional subchasers and other water craft. It is proposed that the cutters be housed near the College Creek bridge, and that the sailboats be berthed between them and the power plant, as indicated on Fig. 2. As a protection, a small jetty or breakwater could be constructed on the shoal which runs out from Cemetery Point in an easterly direction.
On Fig. 1 the proposed minor wings for Bancroft Hall are shown. Some such arrangement will have to be provided in order to house the additional midshipmen. In the larger wing toward Dahlgren Hall some additional classrooms should be provided.
Other additional classroom space should be provided by adding wings to Maury Hall and Sampson Hall, as shown on the diagram, and by adding an additional floor to Isherwood Hall. Besides these additions of space, a new classroom building should be built to face Parker Road, and the Mathematics Department should move into this new building. By these changes the Department of Electrical Engineering would gain much needed laboratory space, and the library could expand into the third floor of Maury Hall.
Almost every high school in the country has an auditorium large enough to accommodate the entire student body, and it is certainly unnecessary to explain the need of such a hall at the Academy. Yet the fact is that the present auditorium will seat only half of the midshipmen now at the Academy. A new auditorium is an imperative need, and it should be as large as practicable on the space available. Certainly it should seat the entire regiment of midshipmen, and in meeting this requirement the prospective size of the regiment should be considered. This plan contemplates that the new auditorium be located between the administration building and the officers’ club, facing Blake Road and blocking Maryland Avenue. With the building of a new auditorium the present Mahan Hall room could be converted into the Naval Academy Museum, thus releasing classrooms in Maury Hall.
Additional officers' quarters should be provided in three locations. The old bungalows between Bowyer Road and Phythian Road should be torn down, and houses should be erected in this area. By a rearrangement of the space available a considerably larger number of two-family houses could be erected without crowding. Apartment houses could be erected in the gardens across the County Road from Lawrence Field. The plan should provide for government quarters for every officer attached to the Academy, and to meet this requirement additional apartment houses should be erected on the grounds of the new postgraduate school in West Annapolis, as explained below.
A field house for the indoor sports, basketball, wrestling, boxing, fencing and gymnastics, could be erected between Hubbard Hall, the new boathouse, and the County Road. Such a field house, designed to accommodate the crowds at these sports events would be a great addition to the athletic plant, that is badly needed.
A new stadium is not a necessity, but one is badly needed. The present stadium is in an ideal location from the point of view of its accessibility to the midshipmen, and it could be double-decked if it were not for the problem of traffic and the difficulty of handling crowds in such a bottle-neck. A new stadium should be located as near to the Academy grounds as possible, and, also, it should be so located as to be easy of access. These conditions could be met by building the new stadium about 500 yards southwest of the present Postgraduate School. That is, building it to the eastward of Taylor Street which runs from West Annapolis to the old National Cemetery. The suggested site is not encumbered by any buildings, and it would be easy of access from the Academy grounds, from Annapolis, and from Washington and Baltimore. It is near the Annapolis termini of the four main roads which enter the city.
The present building which houses the Postgraduate School is cramped and crowded and really inadequate for the present number of students. The Navy Department has stressed the value of the school and has considered plans for doubling the number of students. The school should have new and larger quarters, and for this purpose additional land should be acquired. It is suggested that a site immediately to the westward of that proposed for the new stadium would be an excellent location for the school. At this site land enough should be procured to provide for the stadium, and for parking space around the stadium, for the new school, for officers’ quarters, and for recreation grounds for the students of the Postgraduate School. Houses should be built for the senior officers of the staff, and apartments should be erected for the other officers attached to the school, including all the student officers. Also, some apartments should be provided for officers attached to the Academy and not quartered elsewhere. That is, all officers ordered to duty at the Naval Academy should have government quarters.
In all, this plan would involve the expenditure of a considerable sum of money, but it would likewise provide a large amount of employment and it would equip the Naval Academy with the physical plant needed to carry on its mission. The wages involved in providing the materials and doing the necessary work in such a building program would be the major factor of expense, and thus it meets the requirements of the President’s plan in respect of providing a large percentage of direct labor. Furthermore, it is unlikely that there will ever come a time in the future when this work could be done for less money, and the results would be permanently useful to the Academy. The provision of government quarters for all officers would “afford permanent improvement in living conditions” as desired by the President, and this part of the program would be self-liquidating in the sense that the government would ultimately get its money back through a saving in rental allowances.
The centennial of the founding of the Naval Academy is approaching, and it is submitted that an appropriate observance of the occasion might well take the form of dedicating a completed material plant suitable to the immediate and future needs of the institution.