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Officials Break Ground on Arlington National Cemetery Expansion

Officials break ground on the new columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. The columbarium is just one of the projects officials are taking to expand the cemetery grounds, which are expected to be completely full by the 2050s.: U.S. Army photo by J.D. Leipold

Officials at Arlington National Cemetery have broken ground on a new columbarium, a structure that holds urns that contain cremated remains.  This is the first major construction project at the cemetery in almost 8 years.

It is anticipated that the new columbarium will be able to accommodate cremated remains until 2024.  The new columbarium will be much larger than the other columbariums at the site, which range in size from 3,000 to 8,000 niches.  The new columbarium will have 20,000 niches and the capacity for 3 to 4 inurnments within each niche – for a service member, spouse and children.  Once completed, the columbarium will almost be as long as 2 football fields.

Construction on the columbarium is expected to begin in January and is scheduled to be completed in June 2013.

The cemetery grounds will also be expanded on two sides by a total of 70 acres, which is anticipated to accommodate inurnments, burials, and mausoleums into the 2050s.

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