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HONOLULU (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs is putting the finishing touches on a new administration office and visitor center for the Punchbowl cemetery.

The 7,462-square-foot (693-square-meter) building is on a hillside outside the main gate of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported ( ) on Tuesday.

“Punchbowl is a unique location to start with,” Jim Horton, director of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, said. “But this location and just the architecture of the new building really makes it a standout, and the community should be very proud.”

Joshua Mathis, resident engineer on the project, said the two-story building is built on 123 concrete piers. The old offices were in a former caretaker’s quarters built in 1949.

Gene Maestas, a Punchbowl spokesman, said the desire to provide more niche spaces for in the cemetery’s columbarium place for cremated ashes was the main reason for the office relocation.

The new building is part of a nearly $30 million project started in 2015 to create the new columbarium, new offices and a memorial wall.

Seven of Punchbowl’s 27 employees will work in the new building. It will be a hub for visitors, families and cemetery representatives who assist with internments, officials said.

“We’re truly blessed, and I think this is going to provide an opportunity for many years to come for the veterans here in Hawaii,” Maestas said.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser,