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Universal Missile Building Description

(Excerpt from Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. ND-9-C,
Universal Missile Building (Building 455)


Between Tactical Road South and Patrol Road, Nekoma Vicinity, Cavalier County, North Dakota.


Universal Missile Building (UMB) operations centered around initial preparation of missile sections, with space for unpacking, assembly, and checkout of Spartan and Sprint missile components. It serviced either one Sprint or one Spartan missile at a time.


The UMB was a reinforced concrete, hardened, non-debris-forming, single story structure with earth embankment covering the roof and three sides. (Non-debris-forming means that, if hit, it would not send debris flying.) The building had 4,284 ft2 of floor area. It contained a high bay section equipped with a 10-ton bridge crane and a low roof utility section for support equipment, documents, and spare parts areas. Out-to-out building dimensions were 119 by 36 ft in plan and 25 ft in height at the high bay and 14 ft in height at the low roof area.

Personnel access was by way of a docking area and emergency egress through a 27-foot, 4-inch corrugated metal pipe tunnel. The building was situated away from the launch stations, since it was not designed to withstand any accidental detonation that might occur in the wake of the detonation of propellants in those areas.


The Ralph M. Parsons Co. designed the UMB. Construction by Morrison-Knudsen and Associates was completed on 3 November 1972, at an estimated cost of $710,200. Activity at the UMB was terminated on 7 October 1976.