According to some estimates, USAFA attracts more than 1 million visitors to region each year. It is widely known as the youngest but most expansive of the four service academies. The site?s history dates back to the 1950s, when a commission narrowed down potential locations to three cities: one in Colorado, one in Illinois and one in Wisconsin. The Colorado Springs location was chosen as the best fit for the stated requirements ? the Air Force needed plenty of space, good weather, and a location that was convenient to nearby cities and major transportation systems. Training initially began at Denver?s Lowry Air Force Base in 1995, moving to the current location in 1958.
USAFA offers cadets and personnel access to a full range of fitness facilities as well as competitive sports teams and recreational teams and clubs. Competitive teams include cycling/mountain biking, men?s and women?s soccer, women?s fast pitch softball, men?s handball, women?s lacrosse, men?s and women?s rugby and ski racing. Recreational clubs run the gamut of interests, from amateur radio to equestrian to model engineering. Hiking is available along the Stanley Canyon, Falcon and Santa Fe hiking trails, while fishing and picnicking are popular at the nearby Farish Memorial Recreational Area.
USAFA has golf facilities as well. The Eisenhower Golf Club courses are available for use by active duty, retired military, reservists, National Guard, NAF, DoD government employees, USAFA cadets and prep school students, and USAFA contractors. The Club maintains two highly rated, 18-hole courses, Silver and Blue.
The Cadet Chapel serves the spiritual needs of USAFA cadets and personnel. Because of its distinctive architecture, the Chapel is also one of the most popular sites with USAFA visitors. Constructed out of aluminum, glass and steel, the Chapel has 17 spires that rise about 150 feet into the air. According to the USAFA website, the number 17 has no significance; it was the result of changes made to keep the construction cost within budget. The $3.5 million dollar structure was designed by architect Walter A. Netsch, Jr.
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