There are 164 national cemeteries throughout the U.S. and its territories which have been established to honor military veterans and their families.
The Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio serves a veteran population of approximately 246,300 within a 75-mile service area, and is one of only two national cemeteries in the state.
The cemetery, which opened in 2000, currently has 49,503 graves. A 2021 purchase of 30 additional acres of land provide an additional 20,422 gravesites, including both casket and cremation sites.
The expansion project includes approximately 7,400 pre-placed crypts, 3,625 in-ground cremains, a 9,386-niche Columbarium, and a 182-marker Memorial Wall.
At full capacity, Ohio Western Reserve can provide burial space for 106,000 eligible veterans and dependents, beyond the year 2050.
As the population ages, there has been an increasing demand for final resting places within the country’s network of National Veteran Cemeteries. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is answering that call by acquiring additional land to expand on its current portfolio of 164 such cemeteries, while enhancing its present properties.
Locally, the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery (OWRNC) in Seville, Ohio is undergoing a 10-year development phase that calls for the upgrading of technology and communications shared among several buildings located on its 423-acre campus.
Harrington Electric Co. began work on the technology project in 2021, and is charged with upgrading and installing communications throughout the entire campus, which will link the main Administration Building to the Public Information Center, three Committal Shelters, a Columbarium, two maintenance shops and a main pump house.
The job involves upgrading access control, intrusion and video systems that are regulated through the main Administration Building. To do that, the Harrington team had to first determine how the previous underground telecommunications system was laid out, then replace that system with more than 8,000 feet of fiber cable.
“There were a variety of assorted cabling and communications with different access control equipment installed between the buildings over the past two decades, which had to be initially identified,” said Christina Lutz, project manager for the job. “There was a lot of planning required to replace the system with a fiber backbone to bring the buildings together.”
The job required underground installations from asphalt to each building in the middle of winter, adding and replacing the cabling needed to make everything work. From digging, laying asphalt, landscaping, and building renovations, the entire job has taken nearly three years to complete.
Further, as the cemetery was continually in operation, the project had to comply with the Department’s strict requirement of performing all job functions and completing job site work in a manner that minimized noise and dust, and had little detrimental effects on cemetery operations.
Now that the project is coming to full completion (March, 2024), there’s updated connected audio to play Taps for families at the outdoor Committal Shelters, instant identification and location of a Veteran’s burial location through the locator portals inside the Public Information Center, and seamless communications between the Admin Building and the rest of the campus.
Harrington Electric Co. is proud to work alongside the Veterans Administration, and honored to be part of a project that improves our National Cemeteries – lasting memorials that invoke a sense of honor and dignity for our nation’s Veterans.