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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Fall 2003 arrow Kansas: Security Upgrades for Building 500, Fort Riley
Kansas: Security Upgrades for Building 500, Fort Riley

Agency: U.S. Army

In central Kansas, some citizens say that the expression “Life of Riley” came from the beautiful surroundings that characterize U.S. Army base Fort Riley. Noteworthy in its charm, the base also contains much history.

In 1836, Wild Bill Hickok served there as deputy U. S. marshall, and in 1886, General George Custer served as lieutenant colonel to the new Seventh Cavalry. The base’s headquarters are in Building 500, which is an important contributor to the Main Post Historic District, listed in the National Register.

The Army has determined that about one out of every four of Building 500’s historic windows must be replaced for security reasons under new anti-terrorism guidelines. The project’s consulting parties are concerned that this project will start a trend to replace well-preserved historic windows on military installations throughout the country.

Building 500 is a large administrative building at Fort Riley, Kansas, that serves as base headquarters and is an important contributor to the Main Post Historic District, listed in the National Register.

Building 500, Fort Riley, Kansas

 

 

Building 500, Fort Riley, KS (photo courtesy of Robert L. Beardsley, U.S. Army)

 

 

Under the new Anti-Terrorism and Forces Protection (ATFP) guidelines, the U.S. Army has determined that 90 of the building’s 388 historic windows must be replaced to protect occupants in the event of a terrorist attack.

In March 2003, the ACHP notified the Army that it would participate in consultation on the proposed project. In May 2003, the ACHP and the Kansas State Historic Preservation Officer discussed their concerns that this project would set a precedent for future window replacement projects on military installations throughout the country.

The removal and replacement of well-preserved historic windows does not conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. In addition, before the introduction of the Department of Defense’s Minimum Antiterrorism Construction Standards, it was possible to question the basis for window replacement under a cost-benefit analysis. This analysis, however, becomes somewhat immaterial when security measures are called into play.

The Army agreed to determine if interior storm windows could be adequately anchored to meet the guidelines without removing the windows, but two months later, the Army presented data supporting its proposal to replace the window units. It is hoped by the preservation community that this does not portend a move to replace historic windows nationally.

A draft Memorandum of Agreement has been developed, but the Army has questioned the appropriate level of documenting the windows under the Historic American Buildings Survey. It has agreed to develop a report on the analysis that went into the decision to replace the windows under the ATFP guidelines.


Staff contact: Lee Keatinge

Posted October 30, 2003

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