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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Workers are in the early stages of building a new fitness center at Camp Humphreys that officials say will be the U.S. military’s biggest in South Korea.

The center — complete with a gym, indoor pool, running track and four-story parking garage — is one of three fitness facilities currently under construction at Camp Humphreys. The post is slated eventually to become the U.S. military’s top headquarters installation in South Korea and its largest installation on the peninsula.

The center is an $18.4 million project set for completion in January 2008. Going up next to Soldiers’ Field, it will stand three stories and measure 109,512 square feet of indoor space, said Greg H. Reiff, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resident engineer at Camp Humphreys.

“I’ve been in recreation 43 years now. It’s the best facility I’ve ever seen outside of civilian life,” said James Howell, Area III sports director at Camp Humphreys.

Work began in January at Camp Humphreys on two other gyms, each to cost about $7 million. One, in the MP Hill section of the post, is due for completion by February 2007; another, in the post’s Zoeckler Station area, is to be completed by May 2007. Each will be a two-story structure with 45,000 square feet of space.

Among the larger center’s features will be an eight-lane, 25-meter indoor swimming pool; a 626-foot indoor running track, separate rooms for cardio fitness, circuit training, free weights and group exercise; basketball and racquetball courts; a martial arts training room, and climbing walls.

Blueprints also call for locker, shower, sauna and steam rooms, an equipment-issue area, administrative offices, classrooms and a multipurpose meeting area for social activities.

Also planned are a lounge and snack bar and an outdoor recreation pavilion.

The parking garage will house 200 spaces and be connected to the center by an enclosed sky bridge.

Of the three new facilities, only the largest will have a pool and running track, Howell said.

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company Ltd. is building the largest facility. The other two are being built by the Namwha Construction Company Ltd. Both firms are under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Post officials Friday said Camp Humphreys’ existing fitness center, built in 1976, eventually will be demolished but might serve some interim purpose until then.

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