CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in partnership with the Department of Defense Education Activity, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District and the Korea Ministry of National Defense - Defense Installations Agency held a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 7 for a new elementary school.
The ceremony marked the start of construction for Humphreys East Elementary School – the official name of the new school – which will continue until completion in spring 2026.
“This $52-million project is a promise to carry forward the legacy of our nation’s defenders – the children of active-duty service members and command sponsored Department of Defense civilians,” said Brig. Gen. Sean Crockett, Eighth U.S. Army commanding general for operations and keynote speaker at the ceremony.
Crockett, whose children attended DoDEA schools, also said that the new school represents a community investment in providing the best possible education for its children.
Humphreys East Elementary School was included in the 2008 master plan for USAG Humphreys, the largest U.S. military installation overseas, and funded by the Korea Ministry of National Defense through a defense cost sharing agreement with the U.S.
Col. Lee In-chul, chief of MND’s U.S. Forces Korea program attended the ceremony and said the school will help provide a stable family environment that can reinforce the robustness of the ROK-U.S. Alliance.
“The addition of Humphreys East Elementary School is a major milestone in Humphreys’ continual transformation,” said Col. Ryan K. Workman, USAG Humphreys garrison commander. “A lot of hard work has gone into making this happen, and we are proud to break ground on this important project, which will further enhance education for our children.”
The school will accommodate up to 440 students of USFK service members and DOD civilians and can expand up to a capacity of 600 students. The school is based on DoDEA specifications and will be comparable to any U.S. school, providing kindergarten through 5th grade education.
“We are excited about providing more space for students to flourish, and to explore what the world has to offer,” said Dr. Jacob Sherwood, superintendent of the DoDEA Pacific West School District.
Humphreys East Elementary School will relieve some of the student capacity at the garrison’s two existing elementary schools and support the growing population of military and civilian dependents on USAG Humphreys.
The USACE Far East District awarded the construction contract to Ilsung Construction Co., headquartered in Seoul.
“We rely on our contractors to perform work and conduct quality control in accordance with detailed specifications,” said Col. Heather Levy, commander and district engineer of the Far East District.
Chung Kee-hyun, the executive director of construction division for Ilsung said safety and quality will be his company’s top priority throughout the 30-month construction period. Ilsung has previous experience with DoDEA by completing an elementary school on Osan Air Base in 2016.
“People say that construction is the art of creating something out of nothing,” said Chung. “We will create a masterpiece on the land in front of you.”
USACE will provide construction management oversight of the project throughout the construction period.
“We at the Far East District don’t accomplish anything in isolation,” said Levy. “We rely on our counterparts at MND-DIA to work side by side to ensure safety, quality, and adherence to the schedule and cost controls. We work with the garrison and DoDEA to ensure we know exactly what the students and staff will need at the schools.”
U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys is the “Army’s Home in Korea” and is located along the western coast of South Korea within the seaport city of Pyeongtaek, approximately 40 miles south of Seoul. Camp Humphreys is the headquarters for the Eighth U.S. Army, the Second Infantry Division, the Army's most active airfield in the Pacific, and the hub of U.S. Forces Korea.