Air Force Academy to Open South Gate to Public

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The Air Force Academy plans to reopen its southern gate to the public early next month, a move that is expected to boost sagging visitor numbers.

The Air Force estimates the number of visitors has fallen from 1.4 million before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to about a quarter million a year.

The north gate has remained open to the public, but the southern gate has generally only been open to military members or for a few hours before and after football games.

The Academy hopes the change could help with recruiting and selling more souvenirs to support the school's athletic programs.

Visitors to the academy must show identification. Those arriving by car must submit their cars to a search of the trunk and glove box. They will be allowed entry from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Family housing areas and other locations on the grounds will still be off-limits, as well as the cadet area of dorms and classroom buildings and the academy's airfield.