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At Camp Humphreys, a U.S. Army helicopter base in South Korea, scaffolding is up around the building being refurbished for use as a spacious new home for the base bank, credit union, and post office. The structure, built in 1972, served as post exchange until a new one opened last year.
At Camp Humphreys, a U.S. Army helicopter base in South Korea, scaffolding is up around the building being refurbished for use as a spacious new home for the base bank, credit union, and post office. The structure, built in 1972, served as post exchange until a new one opened last year. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)

Soldiers at the U.S. Army helicopter base at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, soon will be able to visit the bank, credit union and post office in a single trip and transact their business in a bright, newly refurbished space.

The three will be housed in the former post exchange, which is nearing the end of a $360,000 overhaul that began in January and is to finish later this week.

“The building is totally refurbished, in and out, so it’s practically a brand new building,” said Bart Mirabal, Camp Humphreys’ public works chief. The former exchange, built in 1972, was closed last summer after a newly constructed PX opened for business across the street.

The former PX will allow its three tenants not only more space but a chance to improve customer service, in addition to the convenience of having all three in one spot. Each will have its own entrance to the one-story building, which measures 13,092 square feet, Mirabal said.

“It’s very comprehensively designed to be independent, and very convenient because it’s centrally located, right ‘downtown,’” Mirabal said. The site is across from the PX, near the base theater, gym, community activities center, bus station, Burger King, and the under-construction base commissary, he said.

“So if you’re at the PX and run out of money, all you have to do is go across the street, go to the ATM,” Mirabal said.

At 3,840 square feet, the new bank space will be almost twice the size of the existing 1,940-square-foot bank branch, said Park Jae-soo, Camp Humphreys Community Bank branch manager. “It’s much better than the current building,” said Park, who predicted customers will notice and like the changes: “Bright inside and wider, and we’ll have one more ATM in the building” — three, instead of the current two.

The existing bank branch is a “straight-wall Quonset hut” built in 1952, Mirabal said. “The Community Bank is sitting in a building with metal siding. It’s in really bad shape, it’s dilapidated … in a very awkward location, difficult to find.” But it has “a few more years of life” and probably will be refurbished later and put to community use, he said.

The U.S.A. Federal Credit Union branch, currently at 960 square feet, will take up 1,989 square feet in the new location. It’s now in “an old Quonset hut” also built in 1952, said Mirabal, “and it’s really, really nasty.” It’ll be torn down and the space made into a parking lot.

The existing 3,962-square-foot post office is in a corrugated metal and concrete structure built in 1961. Its new 6,987-square-foot location will have a bigger mail handling space including a registered mail area. It also will have a loading dock, which the existing post office lacks, Mirabal said.

The refurbished building “is providing a much better service in a much nicer and a much larger facility,” he said, “and it will also provide the additional capability” to serve a base population expected to grow in coming years as the U.S. military shifts troops into the Pyongtaek region, which takes in Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base.

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