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Col. John Dumoulin, right, the Camp Humphreys commander, looks over a final work project at the base’s new Bang Jung-Hwan Child Development Center with representatives of Samil Enterprise Co., the construction firm that built the center. This outdoor sand area has a drainage problem, which the construction company must fix.
Col. John Dumoulin, right, the Camp Humphreys commander, looks over a final work project at the base’s new Bang Jung-Hwan Child Development Center with representatives of Samil Enterprise Co., the construction firm that built the center. This outdoor sand area has a drainage problem, which the construction company must fix. (Teri Weaver / S&S)
Col. John Dumoulin, right, the Camp Humphreys commander, looks over a final work project at the base’s new Bang Jung-Hwan Child Development Center with representatives of Samil Enterprise Co., the construction firm that built the center. This outdoor sand area has a drainage problem, which the construction company must fix.
Col. John Dumoulin, right, the Camp Humphreys commander, looks over a final work project at the base’s new Bang Jung-Hwan Child Development Center with representatives of Samil Enterprise Co., the construction firm that built the center. This outdoor sand area has a drainage problem, which the construction company must fix. (Teri Weaver / S&S)
Joon Auci, right, talks with a representative of Samil Enterprise Co., the construction firm that built the Bang Jung-Hwan Child Development Center at Camp Humphreys. The $7.9 million center has space for 278 children and will open this fall.
Joon Auci, right, talks with a representative of Samil Enterprise Co., the construction firm that built the Bang Jung-Hwan Child Development Center at Camp Humphreys. The $7.9 million center has space for 278 children and will open this fall. (Teri Weaver / S&S)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — A $7.9 million child-care center for infants to preschoolers will open late October or early November, according to Camp Humphreys officials.

The Bang Jung-Hwan Child Development Center has space for 278 children, said Joon Auci, base coordinator for child and youth services.

But Auci doesn’t expect to have that many customers in coming months, she said. Instead, officials plan to fill the center in coming years as Humphreys increases its size and its family-accompanied military assignments.

“We have room to grow now,” Col. John Dumoulin said recently as he checked on the status of the project. “As [the base] grows and more families move here, we’ll have a better facility to serve our families.”

Camp Humphreys is expected to triple in size in coming years and become the main U.S. military base in South Korea, according to an agreement between the two countries.

As the base expands, the U.S. military expects to increase assignments there from one year to three years. The longer assignments mean more servicemembers will be able to bring their families at government expense.

The new child-care center — named after a child advocate and the founder of the Korean Children’s Day — is just one of the recent improvements to Humphreys to make room for families, Dumoulin said.

A new post exchange, commissary and family housing towers all point to the progression toward meeting families’ needs, he said.

About 30 children are currently enrolled at the base’s temporary child-care center, a refurbished office building, Auci said. Those children and a staff of six caregivers will move into the new center this fall. If Auci hires four more caregivers, the center could care for up to 50 children, she said.

The new center will take children 6 weeks to 5 years old, Auci said. It includes rooms for infants, toddlers and preschoolers; music and play areas; a surveillance system; and an outdoor recreation area.

Dumoulin is planning a ribbon-cutting in September, but the facility likely won’t be ready for customers then. The construction should be done, but Auci expects some of the center’s furniture, equipment and toys to arrive shortly after the ceremony.

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