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PYONGTAEK, South Korea — Apartment residents at Camp George in Taegu, South Korea, soon will be freed from huffing and puffing groceries or toddlers up several flights of stairs. The post is getting elevators for the first time since its five-story buildings went up some 20 years ago, the U.S. Army announced Thursday.

The $1.5 million project calls for elevators in each of the post’s 10 apartment buildings, said Area IV Support Activity spokesman Kevin Jackson.

Workers on May 1 began installing elevators in Buildings B, C and D, and are to finish Sept. 30. Installation of elevators in Buildings A, E, F, G, H, I and J began June 1 and is to be completed May 31, 2006, Jackson said.

Buildings A and G also will have elevator ramps for the handicapped.

“Elevators are the No. 1 quality-of-life project here at Camp George,” Charles Youngblood, chief of Area IV’s housing division, was quoted as saying in an Army news release on the project. Installing a single elevator costs $151,782, Jackson said.

Anastasia Brown, a mother of five who lives on the fourth floor of Building C, welcomed the news, according to the release. It means she’ll soon be spared a 62-stair climb, especially painful after Saturday commissary trips.

“Saturday mornings are rough,” she stated in the release. “It’s difficult to unload the groceries and carry my 3½-month-old son in a carrier up the staircase. We have to take a 20-minute break before we can even put the groceries away.”

Camp George is the site of a military housing area and the Taegu American School, part of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools system.

The Korean National Housing Corporation of Seoul is carrying out the work. The firm also manages the Camp George housing complex, Jackson said.

Other improvements planned for Camp George include new playground equipment, new exterior paint and renovations of three-, four- and five-bedroom units. The timetable and costs for those projects still are being negotiated, Jackson said.

“This elevator is the first of many steps along a long path of revitalizing these housing units,” Col. Donald J. Hendrix, Area IV Support Activity commander, was quoted as saying at a recent groundbreaking for the elevator project.

“Just over 20 years ago the U.S. and Korean governments created these quarters,” Hendrix was quoted as saying. “A lot has changed, and the No. 1 thing missing is elevators. We’re excited to take the first spade of dirt to make the long walk up into a short ride up.”

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