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Construction set to begin at National Cemetery

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY ó Construction begins Monday at the Salisbury National Cemetery on a project that will allow more veterans and their families to be buried there.
Director John Spruyt said the new installations, which include a 1,000-niche columbarium and 2,400 pre-placed in-ground crypts, should be completed within the next year.
ěWe would like to let the public know that though this project may be an inconvenience to visitors, (it) will help to better serve our veterans and families in the future,î he wrote in an email to the Post.
In an interview Thursday, Spruyt said the construction company will be on site Monday to start moving in equipment.
A columbarium is a storage area for cremation urns, which are placed in niches behind covers along a memorial wall. The cemetery currently has a smaller columbarium, but itís quickly running out of space.
ěWe only have 66 niches left, and that will last us for six or seven months,î Spruyt said. ěBut with this project, weíll have plenty of space. … It will last us probably about ó based on the current burial rate ó 10 years before we have to build another one.î
He said in-ground pre-placed crypts, which are vaults buried under 18 inches of topsoil, are now used by most national cemeteries around the country to save space and time.
ěWhen we get ready for a burial, weíll just dig up the 18 inches of topsoil, lift the lids and place the casket in,î Spruyt said. ěWeíll no longer be spending hours digging a grave.î
The new project will fit 1,500 crypts in an acre. Thatís more than double the cemeteryís current capacity ó 700 crypts per acre ó using conventional methods, he said.
ěThese projects fulfill the promise that the National Cemetery Administration made to veterans,î Spruyt said, ěto continue to serve them and their families with final resting places.î
For more information about Salisbury National Cemetery or the new construction project, call 704- 636-2661.

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