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Kunsan Air Base officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for a $16.4 million dormitory being built as part of a plan to replace inadequate housing on the remote installation.

The 160-room dormitory — which will house noncommissioned officers — features built-in Internet communications, cable television and kitchens.

Officials said the dorm also complies with Defense Department force-protection requirements, will be monitored via closed-circuit TV and will be equipped with electronic door locks.

Col. J.D. Harris, 8th Fighter Wing commander, said the building will help the wing support two primary missions — allowing airmen and other troops to better defend the base and allowing them to support any additional forces.

"And quite possibly these are some of the first buildings that are going to allow us to later bring families to Korea because of the way it’s set up, with multiple bathrooms behind each primary door," he said. "So there are many benefits to it."

Capt. Steve Vick, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron asset management flight commander, said in an Air Force news release that the dorm "will benefit the airmen responsible for maintaining it."

"As you know a lot of our dorms are older around here right now and the infrastructure is not in the greatest condition," Vick said in the release. "It takes up a lot of our CE manpower to maintain those and keep them going. That affects the residents.

"Every now and then they will have their air, their water will go out, their hot water, so getting a new dorm will alleviate a lot of those issues."

The project is slated for a July 2010 completion.

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