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PYONGTAEK, South Korea — The Army at Camp Humphreys will start construction soon on offices and barracks for an entire battalion, the latest move in plans to transform the helicopter base into a major troop hub in coming years.

The $14 million project calls for building a battalion headquarters, three company operations buildings with space for six companies, and a four-story barracks with a mail room and rooms for up to 232 soldiers.

The company operations buildings are slated for completion first, in November 2005. The battalion headquarters is to be finished in April 2006 and the barracks in August 2006, said Gregg Reiff, resident engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Far East District resident office at Camp Humphreys.

Firm start dates are not yet designated, Reiff said Wednesday, but work is to start “sometime in October.”

Camp Humphreys, in central South Korea, occupies 1,230 acres in the Anjung-ri section of Pyongtaek, 45 miles south of Seoul.

The project will move forward on three separate parcels at Zoeckler Station, in the base’s northeastern part. Before starting the company operations buildings, workers will tear down four old buildings at the site, Reiff said.

Each company operations building will be a two-story “duplex,” divided in the middle with each side having identical design.

“It’s exactly the same on both sides — mirror image,” said Reiff. “So there’s a total of six company ops in three duplex buildings.”

Each building’s second floor will house offices for a company’s administration, commander and first sergeant. On the first floor will be an arms room, security vault, locker rooms and a “mud room” in which troops returning from the field can clean boots and gear.

“There are boot scrapers and a lot of metal gratings that they can wash things down over, and places to connect hoses,” Reiff said.

The battalion headquarters also is to be two stories. Besides offices for the battalion commander and other senior leaders, it will include staff offices, a conference room and a large training room with moveable partitions.

Barracks construction will begin once workers demolish the four old buildings. The barracks are designed to house troops two to a room, each pair sharing a sink, toilet and shower.

On the first floor will be a room that many units outfit with exercise equipment; the second floor is to have a full-sized kitchen, laundry room and mud room.

“You have a big range, a lot of counter space and a lot of cabinets,” Reiff said.

A lounge is planned for the third floor, and a game room for the fourth.

In addition, the second, third, and fourth floors are each to have a storage area with chain-link storage cages for soldiers to place “their TV boxes and empty suitcases and things like that,” said Reiff. “That’s standard in most barracks nowadays.”

The Pumyang Construction Co. Ltd. of Seoul will carry out the project under contract with the Army Corps of Engineers, Reiff said.

Constructing a battalion’s buildings from scratch will give whatever unit eventually occupies them a big advantage, said Susan Barkley, public affairs chief for the Area III Support Activity at Camp Humphreys. The facilities will be designed to meet the needs of the occupants, she said.

“In other words, if it’s a company headquarters, it’s been designed as a company headquarters. So we’re not trying to basically fit a square peg into a round hole by taking a building that was designed for another purpose and then transforming that into a company headquarters.

“Another thing is that this type of planning allows various parts of the organization to be sited in close proximity,” she said. “So it will not be necessary for a soldier to go from one side of an installation to do part of their work and then go to the opposite side of the installation to do another aspect of their job.”

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