Garrison's pools, gym to get big upgrade
October 17, 2011
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea -- Swimmers in Area I will soon have three good-as-new indoor pools to enjoy thanks to a renovation project slated for the coming months at Camps Hovey, Stanley and Red Cloud.
And the Hanson Fitness Center at Camp Casey is also to get a much-needed fix-up.
Overhauling the pools will cost more than $4 million total. Work is to finish next spring, with all three reopening in time for the summer season, if not earlier.
"It's great news," said Col. Hank Dodge, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I. "They're gonna be top notch, state of the art."
Each pool will have a retractable roof, outdoor sundeck, all-new mechanical systems for warm water, new ventilation systems and locker rooms, and will be weatherized with insulation and other features that will keep them warm in winter.
The retractable roof will allow patrons to swim in sunlight, and the ventilation system will work against mold and mildew, provide better airflow, and keep steam from accumulating. That'll mean lifeguards won't have to peer through clouds of steam to keep watch on swimmers, said Yun Heo, the USAG Red Cloud director of Public Works.
The three pools are more than 12 years old, have undergone only minimal upgrades and "band-aid" repairs, and are "long overdue" for revamp, Heo said.
The Hanson gym will get a new entrance, locker rooms and bathrooms.
The renovations of the pools and gym became possible because garrison officials took swift action recently to qualify for money the Office of Secretary of Defense was offering on a one-time-only basis to installations with fitness facilities needing upgrade.
The result was the award to the garrison of $4.8 million for fitness facility projects.
Of that, $4.1 million will be spent on the pools. Another $750,000 goes to the renovations at the Hanson gym.
Under strict Pentagon rules for the money, the garrison had to have renovation contracts signed by 10 p.m. Sept. 30, said Beverly Poole, the director of Resource Management.
"And that meant that there was an agreement between the contractor and the U.S. government to start work," Poole said.
Work on the pools is to be extensive, and to finish the renovations in time for summer, the garrison may have to close and overhaul all three at the same time, something Dodge prefers to avoid.
"What I'd like to do is try and leave one open throughout Area I, especially as we lean into the winter months," he said. "However, that's probably not going to be possible because the work's so extensive.
"Upgrading these pools gives us year-round benefit. We have all the aquatic sports, we have kids that take swimming lessons, we have swim teams, and all of that stuff, just like back in the states, so we were very fortunate."
The Hovey and Stanley pools are to close sometime this month, with the Red Cloud pool closing sometime later this year, officials said.
Work on the Hanson gym could start as early as this month, and should finish next spring. Under an earlier project, work is already under way on a new floor for the gym's basketball court.