CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Parents, students and teachers formally christened the new Humphreys Central Elementary School on Friday, nearly three weeks after classes started.
Students applauded inside the auditorium of the replacement for aging Humphreys American School as principal Joyce M. Diggs acknowledged the smiling audience and “the sense of ownership” she felt.
Last-minute issues forced administrators to rely on teachers and volunteers to pitch in on the weekend before Humphreys Central opened Aug. 6 so classes could begin as scheduled, unlike the high school that remains closed due to unspecified construction problems. That school may not open until December.
Irby L. Miller, Department of Defense Education Activities Korea District superintendent, offered gratitude.
“Thank you to our teachers who have worked very diligently in terms of making sure certain our school, our classrooms, were available to our students in a professional manner,” Miller said. “Thank you parents for all that you do.”
The schools are part of the major expansion project at Camp Humphreys that is key to the relocation of most U.S. forces in Korea to regional bases south of Seoul.
“USAG Humphreys is projected to triple in size in its current daily population of 11,000 to 30,000 by 2016,” said David Hartsfield, chief of Plans, Analysis, Integration and Transformation for the base’s garrison headquarters.
“Schools were the driving factor whether or not units were coming here or not,” Hartsfield said. “The 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion relocated from Camp Stanley in January of this year because of schools.”