West Casey Chapel reopens after stem-to-stern overhaul
During a Sept. 7 ribbon-cutting celebrating the reopening of the West Casey Chapel, members of a Gospel choir sing for an audience of about 60 Soldiers, civilians and families members. Besides an all-new look, the chapel now has more space, a full-size kitchen, and an outdoor playground and parking lot, among other improvements.

CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- The West Casey Chapel, which had been closed for 10 months for a stem-to-stern renovation, is open again and with an all-new look.

Services resume Sept. 16 at the chapel, which sits on a hill overlooking Camp Casey's Exchange and commissary area. The renovation began last November.

Protestant services are scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Catholic Mass for 11 a.m. and the Latter Day Saints service for 4 p.m.

To mark its reopening, officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 7 with more than 60 Soldiers, civilians and family members present.

Among those at the ceremony was Chaplain (Col.) David Waters, U.S. Forces Korea chaplain, who said the renovation had been so thoroughgoing the chapel was "close to being a brand new facility."

"The Second to None is so blessed to have a new facility like this," Waters said, in a reference to the 2nd Infantry Division, whose motto is "Second to None."

"The old chapel, the old building had a very low ceiling and there was a lot of leakage here and there," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Suk-jong Lee, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I chaplain.

"Inside, the roof has been raised and it is very bright in the sanctuary, with a nice contemporary style," Lee said.

Besides the chapel's new look, worshippers will feel the change in another way too.

The windows in the old chapel weren't sealed and the air conditioner didn't work properly, said Lee. That left the congregation shivering in their seats in winter and sweating in summer.

But awaiting them in the renovated chapel is a new air-conditioning and heating system.

Not everything from the old building was carted away. The bronze reliefs of the Stations of the Cross were saved and members of the Catholic congregation made new frames for them.

Before the renovation the sanctuary was the chapel's only place worshippers could meet after services.

"So after their service they would have to move out for the next service," said Lee.

The renovations have changed all that by adding an activity room to the chapel. The large room has movable walls that can divide it into three rooms.

Also new is a full-size kitchen, with an industrial-size refrigerator and stove.

"So, the congregation can cook together and eat together," something that'll be especially helpful if they want to share a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, Lee said.

"Now we can have things happening at the same time at the chapel," said Spec. Amber Jones, a worshipper assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 70th Brigade Support Battalion. "We can have Bible study going on and choir rehearsal going on."

The renovation project was not limited to the chapel itself. A playground and paved parking lot was added to the chapel grounds.

"This is a place where people can really congregate," said Lee. "They can claim this as their home and hopefully we can build a bigger family within this chapel facility."

Page last updated Thu September 13th, 2012 at 00:00