By Stephen Satkowski
USACE - Far East District Public Affairs
U.S. ARMY GARRISON HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- Major construction on the United States Forces Korea operations center is underway. The operations center, a 377,000 square-foot, two-level underground facility, will support the United States Forces Korea (USFK) headquarters requirements as part of the relocation of forces to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. The project will provide facilities for USFK's mission during armistice, crisis, and wartime.
Due to the large scope of the project, it had to be divided into multiple phases. The first phase, called the “Big Dig,” required two years of excavation of the site and was completed in 2015. For a sense of scale, the surface area is equivalent to three football fields and the depth is approximately 70 feet. The second phase, called the “Big Build,” is the general construction of the facility which started in Jan. of 2016. The final phase, called the “Big Top,” includes construction of a parking structure that will be placed on top of the facility and is scheduled to start in 2019. Chris Brincefield, project manager since 2016, has been encouraged by the progress so far.
“Current construction has been proceeding very well,” said Brincefield. “Construction Surveillance Resident Office manages the construction contract and the project delivery team has developed a strong working relationship to adapt and maintain forward momentum.”
Clay Tallman, project engineer since 2014 said the complexities of this project make it different than others he has overseen.
“The building is essentially a big concrete box and weighs a lot (the foundation itself is two meters thick), but with such a high water table the designers were concerned about the structure actually floating out of the ground,” said Tallman. “So instead of having pile hold the building up, this has tie downs to keep the building anchored. Another interesting feature of this building is that all of the building systems (generators, cooling towers, water storage tanks, sanitary sewer tanks, and fuel tanks) are contained within the building, underground,” said Tallman.
One of the most challenging aspects of this project is the immense concrete requirement of 180,000 cubic meters. To meet this requirement, Far East District, alongside with the construction contractor and U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys devised a plan to construct the first and only concrete batch plant on the installation.
“The largest single placement to date has been 2,500 cubic meters which required three pump trucks, 420 concrete truck loads and took approximately 16 hours to place,” said Brincefield.
Construction began on the project in 2016 and is expected to be completed in early 2020.