Ceremony to mark start of work on eight-story Camp Humphreys barracks

PYONGTAEK, South Korea — Officials at Camp Humphreys in South Korea were to hold a formal ceremony Monday to mark the start of construction on the eight-story building that is set to be the tallest U.S. military barracks on the Korean peninsula when it opens in August 2007.

An adjacent three-story headquarters also is planned, slated for completion in June 2006.

The ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the construction site on the western side of the post, “just to specify that this is the beginning” of the $16.7 million project, said Brandi Dennis-Peña of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District’s Pyongtaek Resident Office at Camp Humphreys.

Several speakers were scheduled for the ceremony, including Army Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., commander of the Area III Support Activity at Camp Humphreys.

Camp Humphreys is a 1,250-acre helicopter base in Pyongtaek in west-central South Korea. But under an agreement between South Korea and the United States, the base is to be enlarged to eventually become the U.S. military’s biggest installation in South Korea and headquarters for senior military commands now based in Seoul.

Workers last month tore down buildings on the site and leveled the ground to clear the way for the construction, and some preliminary work already has started on the foundation, said Dennis-Peña.

The barracks will house 464 soldiers. Each of its 232 rooms are designed for two occupants, will measure 336 square feet and have a bathroom, shower, sink and storage closets.

In addition to soldiers’ rooms, the first floor will have two large laundry rooms, a kitchenette and storage rooms, two small offices, a large multipurpose room, and two “mud rooms” in which soldiers will be able to wash down their gear after getting in from the field.

On the second through eighth floors, plans call for a small lounge, a storage area and a small laundry room as well as soldier’s rooms.

The headquarters building will house the office of a brigade headquarters element and two company-size headquarters elements. The building will include an arms room and storage areas as well as administrative offices.

The Shin Sung Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. is carrying out the construction under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.