By Mr. Kenneth David Hall (IMCOM)July 20, 2009
HUMPHREYS GARRISON - Thanks to a rousing restoration effort led by USAG-Humphreys Directorate of Public Works, Shinkwang Ind, Construction Company Ltd. and Soldiers from the garrison's chaplain team, Freedom Chapel will reopen for regularly scheduled worship services on Sunday, July 19.
It has been nearly seven months since a Christmas-night fire gutted Freedom Chapel just hours after final services and shut down the chapel. Since the fire, services have been held in the Super Gym's community room.
"I went inside the chapel the day after the fire and everything was charcoal black," said Humphreys Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Jason K. Kim. "The new facility is better than it was before and I know the congregation will be happy to see such a finely renovated chapel. It was worth it to rebuild the chapel because we won't have a new facility built for a few more years."
As a result of new designs by USAG-Humphreys Directorate of Public Works in-house design section, 70 seats have been added to the main chapel which can now accommodate 240 worshipers.
Spc. Travis Holmes, Freedom Chapel building manager worked closely with DPW and Shinkwang contractors throughout the restoration.
"There are more offices to accommodate chaplain staff members and larger classroom space than we had before the fire," said Holmes. "One of our three annexes will be used as a youth hut because a lot of kids really don't have someone they can confide in on their terms. Every Sunday at 3 p.m. there will be Youth Bible study."
Restoration costs for the new facility were $483,000 and, like many facilities to be built during the Humphreys Garrison transformation, the new Freedom Chapel has gone green.
"All of the lighting in the facility has been upgraded to energy-efficient light emitting diode technology," said Mark Cunningham, Contracting Officers Representative, DPW. "We're also adding walkway covers to the existing outside annex buildings."
In addition to three small classroom and worship annexes around the main chapel, a new building adjacent to the main facility will also be used as a fellowship hall, adding space for up to 100 people.
Humphreys Garrison Chaplain (Maj.) Klon Kitchen is ecstatic over the chapel renovations and credits several interior dAfAcor inspirations to people he's known throughout his Army career.
"The new chapel turned out so much better than I had imagined," Kitchen said. "For the first time ever here, we now have classrooms for religious education. We also have several individual rooms where chaplains can meet with Soldiers and their Families for consultation and training."
Among the new features the new chapel has are a state-of-the-art sound system and two projection screens that will show scripture passages and hymnal lyrics for worshipers to sing along.
"I was taught by some very good people to save money where you can," said Kitchen. "Everything we have put in the new chapel can be transplanted to one of the new chapels in the future."