Humphreys Teen Center reopens for business

Humphreys Teen Center reopens for business

by Maria Gallegos
U.S. Army

CAMP HUMPHREY, Republic of Korea – U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys' 19th Human Resources Company Reception Center recently relocated to a new location, returning the Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Youth Center, also known as the Teen Center, back to its normal operations for Middle and High School students.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the reception center was temporarily located at the youth center to accommodate the influx of incoming personnel and their families coming from abroad.

During that time, the center medically tested thousands of personnel for the coronavirus before they were assigned to their primary quarantine locations, for a 15-day mandatory quarantine period.

“The reception center at the teen center was never designed to be a permanent location, but only used temporarily while we renovated the permanent facility,” said Michael Duncan, Department of Public Works and Task Force 37 project manager. “Now that we have completed the renovation, we are excited to open its doors to meet the needs of this very important mission.”

The relocation to Bldg. 118, near Sentry Mall, offers a bigger space and a more central location to the family and isolation quarantine barracks and Brian D. Allgood Community Hospital, in case of an emergency.

“A team of professionals worked several months to ensure every aspect of the reception and testing process was secured before they were fully operational at the new location,” Duncan said. “The new layout of the reception center allows more than 90 people to process through at any given time, reducing the time spent in the facility.”

Duncan also said the move would not have been possible “without the support from our commanders and senior leaders who truly care for our new or returning travelers along with our military and family communities.”

“Most importantly, the teens at Humphreys now get their teen center back to enjoy the facility as it was designed and intended to,” he said.

The reception center relocated Dec. 1, giving the teen center time to re-open for business Dec. 18.

“The Child, Youth, and School Services and the Youth Center team are ecstatic about the re-opening of the facility,” said Brett Meehan, Middle School/Teen facility manager.

“The program operated for only two weeks after we had our grand opening on Feb. 8 before COVID brought on the Health Protection Condition measures,” he said. “It is a great place for youths to receive homework assistance, leadership opportunities, or just hang out with their friends.”

Prior to its opening, the staff worked long hours to ensure the facility was sanitized and re-verified before they opened its doors.

“The Youth Center is 100 percent clean and safe following the building's use as the COVID-19 reception center,” Meehan said. “The medical team did a wonderful job of ensuring full disinfection and cleaning of the building every day during their time here, and we at the CYS have taken it upon ourselves to have the facility deep cleaned twice since we got the keys back on Dec. 1. Additionally, the USAG Humphreys Health and Safety departments here on post have cleared us for opening based on our very strict CYS standards for cleaning.”

To help combat the spread of the coronavirus, they also implemented mandatory mask wear for all staff, guests, and youth while in the facility.

“The only exception is in the café areas in the event that youth are eating,” Meehan said. “There is no exception for staff or guests.”

On average, when the facility first opened in February, the center accommodated more than 170 students daily.

“As a Central Youth Services facility, we provide our core programming based upon the Boys & Girls Clubs of America standards,” Meehan said. “This includes everything from Arts & Crafts, to Leadership, Volunteer, and College Readiness Clubs. As for the facility itself, we have an eSports Arena with high speed gaming computers, as well as gaming consoles.”

He also said the facility has a Technology Lab for students “needing a quiet area to do their homework or utilize computers for assigned lessons or research.”

“In the High School Lounge, we have a theater set up with a 230-inch screen for movies and a game center equipped with foosball, ping pong, and billiards tables. And for the music lovers, we even have a stage set up for youth performances.

“We are excited to re-open the facility,” he said. “And looking forward to seeing some old and new faces.”

For more information or to register, please call DSN 755-1077/2246 or 0503-355-1077/2246.

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