AUSTIN, TEXAS — Jerry Patterson, chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board, and hundreds of Texas veterans attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the 54-acre Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery at Corpus Christi.

Engineering firm PBS&J is the prime consultant providing full architectural and engineering services in creation of a new state veterans cemetery program with support from landscape architecture firm RVi Planning + Landscape Architecture + Graphic Design, and land planner The LA Group from Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Up to seven new cemetery sites varying in size from 50 to 175 acres will be developed throughout Texas on land donated by local communities. Each of the cemeteries will be designed and constructed using funds from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) State Cemetery Grants Program.

“It is the objective of the team to design a facility that is consistent with the dignity and honor of national veterans cemeteries while at the same time reflecting the local history, culture and characteristics of the region it serves,” said Chad Gilpin, project manager at PBS&J. “These projects are something the community is typically very proud of, and it feels rewarding to be a part of that pride.”

The master plan developed for the Corpus Christi site provides for 31,500 gravesites during a 40-year period. Phase One includes administration and maintenance facilities, public restrooms, a gravesite locator, an assembly area, a committal shelter, and a columbarium.

“We work creatively with challenges of these sites so that their features contribute to families’ experience at the cemetery, rather than detract from it,” said Mark Smith, landscape architect at RVi. “When you are there, you immediately understand what these veterans stood for through the sanctity of the place.”

The design team led by PBS&J includes civil engineers, architects, landscape architects, MEP engineers, structural engineers and land planners. The Austin offices of PBS&J and RVi along with The LA Group have formed the core cemetery design team for all four Texas State Veterans Cemeteries constructed in Texas (Corpus Christi, Killeen, Mission, and Abilene).

Construction on Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery at Corpus Christi is expected to take 18 months.