YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Yongsan Garrison housing officials have been clearing space for the area’s largest families by turning pairs of two-bedroom duplexes into spacious five-bedroom houses.

Contract workers completed the conversion of the fourth duplex in late March, bringing the number of five-bedroom houses on Yongsan Garrison to six, said housing chief Carol Jones.

Jones said the conversions are needed as more large families find their way to South Korea. She said the five-bedroom houses have been filled with families needing room for as many as eight children.

“Every time we do one of these we’re losing a unit, but most of our senior enlisted and officers require more than two bedrooms,” Jones said. “A five-bedroom house off post is expensive, and [the rent] exceeds the housing allowance.”

Each renovation project cost about $19,000 — about $1,000 shy of the allotted budget — Jones said, and the units were transformed in less than 45 days each.

She said there has also been talk of reopening the unoccupied high-rises at Hannam Village and converting all the two-bedroom units into four-bedroom units, though nothing has been decided.

“We’re still in negotiations and it’s too soon to tell if that will come to fruition,” Jones said.

People with large families aren’t the only ones benefiting from renovations, Jones said.

All of the South Post leased housing, including Black Hawk Village, Itaewon Acres and Eagle Grove, are in various stages of a renovation cycle. So far, 24 of the housing division’s 40 buildings have been completed.

Jones said in order to minimize inconvenience, vacated units are not being filled until renovations are complete.

She said the buildings, most of which were constructed in the early 1980s, are approaching the end of their 25-year life span. Jones said according to Army policy, housing is required to be renovated every 25 years.

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