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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Keeping Camp Humphreys’ expansion project on track, prepping the post to house more families and improving the quality of life for soldiers are among the garrison’s highest priorities this year, its commander said.

The post is to triple in size in coming years under a plan to relocate U.S. forces on the peninsula. This will involve new construction inside the existing post and on adjacent land onto which the post eventually will expand.

This year’s expansion effort will see the opening of many major new facilities on the existing post — gyms, barracks, a family readiness center and a middle school, said Army Col. John E. Dumoulin Jr., commanding officer of the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys.

“The well-being of our families here is very, very important to me,” Dumoulin said in a recent interview.

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools system operates the Humphreys American Elementary School on post, for kindergarten through sixth grade. Middle school and high school students are bused about 30 minutes to Osan Air Base.

A middle school is to open in September on Humphreys, and an interim high school is planned for September 2009. Additional schools are to be built on post by 2012.

The old child development center will be renovated and is expected to reopen late this year as a family readiness center.

“It provides a place for family readiness groups to meet, and to work on the issues that affect the families in their units,” Humphreys spokesman Robert McElroy said.

Concerns about schools, the commissary and post exchange, and other quality-of-life issues affecting families are among things that might typically be brought up, he said.

“They also provide support to each other during deployments and training, especially helping out the wives and husbands of younger soldiers who are new to the Army and haven’t adjusted yet to the lifestyle,” McElroy said.

Soldiers also will have three new gyms this year, one each at MP Hill and Zoeckler Station, set to open this month or next, and a “Super Gym” to open in April.

Several barracks projects are also set for completion this year at both MP Hill and Zoeckler Station.

“I think anything we can do to improve the quality of life of our soldiers and our families, that’s what we’re all about,” Dumoulin said.

Humphreys projects

Following are projects set for completion at Camp Humphreys, and the times of their projected openings this year, according to the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys.

Humphreys middle school — September.

Family Readiness Center — sometime late this year.

Community Fitness Center, or “Super Gym” — April.

Zoeckler Station gym — January or February.

MP Hill gym — January or February.

Zoeckler Station barracks — September.

MP Hill barracks with dining facility — November.

Humphreys Army Lodge expansion — June 2008.

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