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SEOUL — Plans for a huge, three-story gym and community activity center that seemed headed for the locker a year ago are now taking shape — with some architectural adjustments — at Camp Humphreys.

The project initially was intended for Camp Coiner, adjacent to Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, to replace Yongsan’s aging Trent Gym. The design, winner of the 2004 Army Corps of Engineers Design and Environmental Awards Program Merit Award, featured an indoor running track, a swimming pool, a game room and a sky bridge leading from the adjacent parking garage.

In 2004 a construction crew broke ground on the project. But that was all that happened.

Before the concrete building’s foundation was poured, the project was halted.

With plans to move all of its facilities in Seoul and further north to Camp Humphreys in Pyeong- taek, U.S. Forces Korea saw no need to build new facilities on Camp Coiner, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Joe Campbell.

“We were pretty sad by the news. They never drilled a single pile,” said James Aquino, chief architect for Thomas J. Davis/Jung Il Associated. “For architects the satisfaction we get is seeing our designs built. That’s the whole reason we do what we do, so it was frustrating when the project was canceled.”

The project wasn’t as dead as some people might have thought, however. It was revived when plans for expanding Camp Humphreys called for the addition of a gym.

“But Camp Humphreys already had a community activity center, so the project had to be changed a little,” Campbell said.

Scheduled for completion in January 2008, the Camp Humphreys Community Fitness Center’s current incarnation will feature an indoor track, a swimming pool, a combative sports room for boxing and martial arts, weight rooms, cardio rooms, racquetball courts and other fitness-related facilities.

Using the same award-winning design, the architects reoriented facility plans to fit a new location. Then changes had to be made to the internal components.

Aquino said he and his staff met the project revival with mixed feelings: while they liked the original design, they welcomed the challenge of fitting a new user’s requirements into it.

“The initial concept was good because the different functions related to each other and their placement in the different rooms," Aquino said. A lounge and game room in the original design, for example, will now be an exercise room in the Camp Humphreys version. “But you have to think of what the building will be used for. We look at this as a new project, and being a fitness center, people are coming here to work out.”


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