The new Consolidated Educational Training Facility, referred to as CETF, with its 39.5 million dollar cost was completed at the Air Force Academy in July 1996. The facility currently houses the departments of Astronautics, Biology, Chemistry and Civil Engineering.
Why the need for a new facility? Prior to 1964, the Air Force academy had a cadet wing that numbered 2,600. Fairchild Hall provided 102 square feet of academic space per cadet. However in 1964 the cadet wing increased by 80 percent to 4,500 cadets but academic space increased by only 30 percent which dropped the square foot per cadet to 75. With new and expanded technologies emerging, the academies teaching space was forced into facilities not designed for the load, which resulted in extremely crowded conditions and environmental hazards. With CETF now completed the square foot per cadet has risen to 91, which is more in line with the Army and Naval academies whose square foot per cadet is 84 and 102 respectively.The former home of the Department of Chemistry, Fairchild Hall was designed in the 1950s to support a core-driven curriculum, but the academy presently has 25 major fields of study. When opened, the academy had 6 laboratory equipped departments. That number has since grown to 12. In the 1950s there were no computers or lasers in laboratories or classrooms. However, in today's colleges and universities these items are commonplace. It should also be noted that increasingly stringent Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration and Environmental Protection Agency regulations are becoming more costly to the academic curriculum.