WEST POINT, N.Y. (April 26, 2012) -- Col. Tyge Rugenstein was on his way to Fort Monmouth, N.J., to check housing options in 2005 before assuming command at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School as the new commandant. He then heard on a local news station that the installation was to be closed as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure action. His wife wondered if a U-turn would be an appropriate move.

Instead, Rugenstein lead the way for the school's transition to West Point and at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday he thanked all the people who contributed to what he confidently said would be the third and final move for USMAPS.

"As you can see, the USMAPS campus is spectacular, but it did not materialize without incredible effort from an extremely dedicated team of professionals," Rugenstein said, noting the many architects, engineers, contractors and staff who supported the move, design and construction of the school.

From the groundbreaking ceremony in September 2009 until the first foundations were laid in April 2010, the contractors and Corps of Engineers team underwent a 15-month build phase to complete the barracks, dining facility and athletic field to usher in the Class of 2012 at the new campus.

"The result was 244 cadet candidates, 52 staff and faculty and over 200 construction workers and contractors working and living together for the next eight months on a very active construction site," Rugenstein said. "This will obviously be a year the USMAPS Class of 2012 and the staff and faculty won't soon forget."

Rugenstein also noted appreciatively the relocation was not an easy decision for some. More than 80 percent of the staff and faculty decided to make the move to West Point.

"They moved because they are passionate about our mission and the opportunities we provide our cadet candidates," he said. "I could not be more proud of our staff and faculty and their commitment to this school and the academy."

The USMAPS project spanned three West Point superintendents who worked with senior Army leaders to reinforce the significance of the USMAPS mission during the BRAC process.

"We are so proud here at the U.S. Military Academy to welcome this great prep school back home," West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr. said. "With this amazing new facility we are optimally set to execute the mission of the school--building leaders of character for the U.S. Army and the nation."

The history of the school dates back to May 4, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the act establishing formal appointments for enlisted Soldiers to the U.S. Military Academy. The legislation led to the development of USMAPS, and to this day the mission remains steadfast of providing exceptional academic, physical and military training to motivate and qualify candidates for admission to and graduation from West Point. Its current location is the school's third move since being established in 1946 at Stewart Army Air Field in Newburgh, N.Y.