YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Area IV officials are saying junior soldiers in lower South Korea have never had better living conditions, due to the millions of dollars in barracks renovations.

Major projects were recently completed at Camp Carroll, Camp Walker and the K-2 Air Base utilizing funds from the Army’s Barracks Upgrade Program.

Using the same funds, six new projects totaling $23 million are under way at Walker and Carroll. Two “mini” projects — not exceeding $2 million in renovations and $750,000 in spending on new construction — have also begun at Camp Hialeah.

“The barracks we are renovating primarily date from the late ’50s to early ’70s,” Maj. Matt Orenstein, Area IV public works director, said in a news release.

But, he said, “anything built prior to 1990 can be considered for the Barracks Upgrade Program.”

Officials have also embarked on plans to build three new barracks with a total budget of $18.5 million, Area IV officials said. A four-story, 11,000-square-foot barracks is being built on Camp Henry to house more than 230 soldiers; two barracks are also being planned for Camp Carroll.

The renovations, in many cases, are designed to give each junior soldier an exterior entrance to a private living area.

In most cases, bedrooms are 140 square feet with 23 square feet of closet space, officials said. Most bachelor NCO quarters have also been improved, with most facilities featuring a 200-square-foot sleeping area.

One challenge encountered by the construction was figuring out where to put soldiers while the renovations were being completed. The BUP provides funds for “swing barracks,” or temporary housing facilities.

And, in order to increase room sizes, the number of rooms per facility must be reduced.

One renovated barracks at Camp Carroll went from 182 soldiers to 112 after renovations.

“Losing space is definitely a management issue,” Orenstein said. “The important thing is with the BUP, versus new construction, we save some dollars and improve the quality of life for our soldiers.”

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