COLORADO SPRINGS — A ceremonial groundbreaking took place for the new Air Force Academy Visitor Center and True North Commons Development outside the Academy’s North Gate early morning.
The new center is part of a public-private partnership bringing a new visitor experience to the Academy
through private funding. The development is planned on 57 acres of Air Force property and includes a publicly accessible commercial hotel, conference center and office space.
Plans for the 32,000-square-foot visitor center include modern, interactive, and informative displays and
experiences. The grand atrium may feature aircraft, spacecraft and satellites ascending toward the ceiling to
represent Air Force and Space Force missions. The visitor center will be framed around cadet life as a way of
showing guests what it is like to attend the Air Force Academy, welcoming returning alumni, and inspiring people of all ages. It’s expected to be complete in 2024.
“This project will reimagine how we welcome visitors not only to our campus but to the entire region,” said
Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark. “For some of the most promising young people our nation has to offer, the journey toward leading the Air Force and Space Force begins right here in Colorado Springs. The new visitor center will tell the story of our Academy and its critical mission…”
The new visitor center is designated as an official Colorado Welcome Center. The project is the fourth and final City for Champions project designed to add dimension, energy and economic vitality to the Pikes Peak region.
Touted as the Gateway to the Pikes Peak Region by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, the Academy
averaged one million visitors annually in pre-COVID years. The Academy’s current visitor center was designed in the 1980s and is about a ten-minute drive inside the Academy from the North Gate.
“We’re incredibly excited for this modern update to the Academy visitor experience to move forward,” said Carlos Cruz-Gonzalez, Academy Director of logistics, engineering and force protection. “The new visitor center is designed to look like an aircraft wing, perfectly illustrating our flying mission.”
Once work is complete, Academy staff will begin installing displays in the new center. The project is a formal
partnership between the U.S. Air Force Academy and Blue & Silver Development Partners, LLC. Community in an effort to include the City of Colorado Springs, the Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation.
Speakers at the event included General Clark, Jr.; Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations Mr. Robert Moriarty; Colorado Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera; Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers; Project Developer Mr. Dan Schnepf; and representing the Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation, Mr. Jerome Bruni.