Expansion of the historic West Point Cemetery is underway review. That’s because this historic graveyard, overlooking the Hudson River in New York, it is now at the risk of running out of burial spaces.
According to a recent Times-Herald Record article, the 200+ year old site is the final resting place for more than 8,000 West Point graduates and cadets, soldiers assigned to West Point, and their immediate families.
With only approximately 40 burial spaces left, plans to expand the cemetery to accommodate anticipated future growth are also being considered.
But that goal comes with a hefty price tag. The current expansion project allows for 308 more sites and costs $3.5 million. Future growth plans to meet projected needs would cost more. Estimates for needs through 2066 would be about an additional $18 million.
West Point expansion concerns also include other growing needs. West Point officials suggest that the academy also needs barrack renovations, etc. Plus, there are plans to construct a multi-purpose academic center and a parking lot that will meet safety standards.
With the threat of continued budget cuts that can result in layoffs and shutdowns, members of the military academy’s Board of Visitors aren’t convinced that any of the needed projects can be completed. The board- comprised of members of Congress and presidential nominees who report to the president and advise West Point officials on their operation – isn’t sure there can be any more cemetery expansion beyond the approved 308 sites slated to be completed by March 2017.
Wonder who’s buried there? Here are a few of the notables:
Brig. Gen. Sylvanus Thayer: Fifth superintendent of West Point, he established many traditions still in practice and is known as the Father of the Military Academy.
Gen. William Westmoreland: A former superintendent of West Point, and commander of American military forces in Vietnam (1964-68).
Lt. Col. Edward White: The first American to walk in space; he later died with two other astronauts in a fire on the launch pad during pre-launch testing for the first Apollo mission in 1967.
Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf: A West Point graduate who was commander of coalition forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.