SEOUL, Republic of Korea —Construction of a new elementary and high school at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys officially begun after a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 2.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District will construct the projects on Parcel K of the newly expanded land which in the future will be a part of the downtown area of the garrison. These schools will be the first vertical construction projects as part of the Yongsan Relocation Program and are expected to be complete by summer 2013.
“These schools are a big deal to the Humphreys community,” said Keysha Cutts, FED Project Manager for the schools. “Currently students have to be bused to Osan.”
From USAG Humphreys to Osan Air Base by bus can sometimes take up to 45 minutes due to heavy traffic congestion on the highways. The garrison is excited about having these schools as they will greatly improve quality of life.
“These schools are based on Department of Defense Dependent Schools specifications and will be very much comparable to U.S. schools,” said Cutts.
An exciting feature about the new high school will be its full sized stadium with Astroturf, announcer box, and scoreboards. This type of stadium will be a first for DoDDS schools in Korea.
Both schools together will accommodate 1,800 students, but the high school will be able to be expanded to accommodate up to 1,600 students as tour normalization approaches completion. The cafeteria, gym, and stadium will already be built to that capacity.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Gen. James Thurman, United States Forces Korea Commander, Kim Kwan-jin, Korean Minister of National Defense, and other distinguished guests.
Kim remembers Camp Humphreys when he was a general in the Korean Army. That was before FED and MND began shaping the ground in the area and the camp had just a few units stationed there.
Today, Kim is very pleased with the progress at USAG Humphreys.
“This groundbreaking has three significant meanings for me,” said Kim. “First it shows the robustness of the ROK-US Alliance. The second meaning lies in the improvement of the quality of lives for U.S. service members stationed in Korea through tour normalization. The third is the development of Pyongtaek into an international city.”
Kim believes that these two schools will open the doorway for more vertical construction under YRP. Thurman agreed that the groundbreaking is a historic milestone in relocation and tour normalization and further explained that it showed the commitment of the ROK-US Alliance.
“On behalf of all the men and women who serve in USFK and the United States of America we want to say thanks to the Republic of Korea for the genuine care and concern that you demonstrate so graciously every single day as we serve side-by-side in this wonderful alliance: the ROK-US Alliance,” said Thurman.
Although the schools are a big step for YRP, at Humphreys they show a dedication to improving the quality of education.
“Most importantly it shows our commitment to our children and our families who come to reside with us here in this wonderful country,” said Thurman.