KINGS POINT, N.Y., August 10, 2013 - The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at Rogers Hall to celebrate the reopening of the newly renovated midshipman barracks. This was the fifth of six barracks to be completed as part of USMMA’s overall $61 million dollar Capital Improvement Plan.
Faculty, staff and guests were welcomed by the Regimental Band’s Fanfare Trumpets, who were then followed by a greeting from Rear Admiral James A. Helis, PhD, Superintendent. Helis thanked those who played a role in the barrack’s completion, including the Capital Improvement team, engineers, administrators, and the contractor, Kallidus Technologies, Inc. “The new barracks ensure a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for the Regiment of Midshipmen,” said Helis.
Then Helis was joined by Rear Admiral Susan L. Dunlap, Deputy Superintendent, Captain Bob DeStafney, Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen, Regimental Commander, Midshipman Captain Kevin Berto, and representatives of Band Company: LTJG Ashleigh Phillips, Midshipman Graham Ucchino, and Regimental Bandmaster, MIDN LT Trevor M. Ball who cut a ceremonial red white and blue ribbon.
Rogers Hall, which is home to Band Company and the Regimental Staff, has been transformed over the past year. The building has new floor-mounted heat pump air conditioning and heating, wall partitions with reduced sound transmission, impact-resistant gypsum board, new plumbing, a new fire protection system throughout the building to include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and each two-person dormitory room has new furniture layouts. The Rogers Hall renovation cost approximately $10.4 million dollars, and is part of the overall Capital Improvement plan.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Admiral Helis invited everyone to join the Regimental Staff during Command Inspection, and to tour their new home.
Rogers Hall is named in honor of Captain Moses Rogers (1779-1821) who had his first command at age 21 on Long Island Sound. Seeing the advantages of steamships, he became the Master of the PHOENIX which was the first vessel to make an offshore voyage under steam power. Among his other firsts was the construction of the engines for and command of the SS SAVANNAH on the first Trans-Atlantic voyage by a steamship. Rogers Hall is located adjacent to Cleveland Hall.