USAG HUMPHREYS, SOUTH KOREA Aca,!" The future has arrived for U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys and it is in the form of six new single Soldier barracks to be built on the piece of land dubbed "Parcel One."

In about four weeks contractors for Hanwha Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. of Seoul will begin construction of four new barracks on the 205-acre site thereby opening a new chapter in the Humphreys' history.

About a month later, in mid-July, workers from Shinsung Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd., also of Seoul will begin work on two more barracks. The six barracks will cost approximately $85 million and be paid for by Military Construction Army funds, according to Fred Davis, the Army Relocation Program manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Far East District.

As currently planned, by 2012 US Forces Korea headquarters and other Yongsan-based units and organizations will move to Humphreys Garrison. The post will swell in population from about 10,000 today to nearly 45,000 - and grow another 2,000 acres.

Before that can happen, however, contractors under the auspices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Far East District must prepare the new land and build the new post.

Parcel One is former farmland that lies just off the western part of the installation. Because it had been used for growing rice the land had to be drained of water and filled. Now, after nearly a year and an endless convoy of dirt-filled trucks dumping their loads onto the parcel part of the land is ready for construction.

The first step is to sink hundreds of reinforced-concrete piles deep into the ground to anchor each barracks' foundation into the solid material beneath the ground. The piles form the first part of the foundation for the barracks, Davis said. Workers will drive them to depths of up to 100 feet.

Next come concrete caps on top of each pile and then steel-reinforced concrete beams connecting each of the caps. When it is complete it will form a sturdy grid which will support the weight of the barracks.

Davis said that the idea of using piles to support buildings is very old; many buildings in the Italian city of Venice sit atop wooden piles that have lasted for centuries. While the technique is old some of the materials used today, such as reinforced concrete, are relatively new, Davis said. Reinforced concrete has been used for about the last 150 years, he noted.

The new barracks should be finished in about two years, said Greg H. Reiff, the Resident Engineer of the FED's Pyeongtaek Resident Office.

From the outside the new barracks will resemble the recently-built barracks on nearby MP Hill but inside they will be designed according to the One-plus-One concept: two Soldiers live in a module where each Soldier has a private room but they share a bathroom and kitchen. Each building will house 302 Soldiers.

Utilities and roads linking the new barracks will come later, Davis said.

As the soil continues to settle on Parcel One and becomes ready for construction more facilities will rise from the new ground during Phase 2 of construction.

Davis said that contractors will build three vehicle maintenance facilities and a communications center on the land next to MP Hill. Also planned are the first of several family-housing towers, an elementary school and a high school.

Some of the facilities will be built on land known as Parcel K, an L-shaped 110-acre tract that wraps around the western boundary of Parcel One.

The construction that's about to begin on Parcels One and K isn't the only change coming to Humphreys Garrison Aca,!" several other projects are about to open or are in the works. Each is designed to update existing facilities and enhance the quality of life here.

Davis said that in all there is about $2 billion worth of new facilities in the design phase. The Community Fitness Center or "Super Gym" should open within the next two months, Davis said. The new wing of the Humphreys Lodge, also scheduled to open in approximately two months will nearly double the existing lodge's room count.

The Zoekler Station area will see the opening of its new gym, two new Soldier Barracks, company and battalion headquarters and a running track and athletic field.

Other projects on the horizon include:

A-A A3 A new 40,000 square foot education center next to the new Child Development Center.
A-A A3 Another parking structure with a capacity of about 400 vehicles.
A-A A3 A new barracks complex to be built on the site currently occupied by the garrison's Directorate of Public Works.
A-A A3 An Aviation Intermediate Maintenance facility next to Desiderio Army Airfield.
A-A A3 The Food, Beverage and Entertainment Complex located next to the Humphreys Lodge on Washington Drive.

Davis said that the new construction also includes a new and improved road network, including a four-lane road that will run beneath the Sky bridge which connects the Super Gym with its parking garage.

The bottom line is that in the next several years, in addition to building a new post on new land, the Army will tear down the old post and rebuild it.

"In 10 years you might not recognize it; it will be a very different place than what we see right now," Davis concluded.

Page last updated Thu May 1st, 2008 at 21:06