FORT SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL CEMETARY
SAN ANTONIO, TX
Rialto Studio has been involved in the expansion and improvements at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio for many years. What began as one large project was broken up into two separate and smaller projects based on the needs of the cemetery and spanned almost a decade of project development.
After a long master planning process, Phase A, the expansion phase of the project, was begun. The immediate need of the cemetery was to extend the roadways, operation facilities, infrastructure and most importantly, interment sites to undeveloped land to the east of the existing historic portion of the cemetery. Rialto Studio led the project with the help of architects and engineers to design and document the roadways, utilities, new administration and maintenance buildings, columbarium plaza, assembly area and approximately 25,000 new traditional and crypt gravesites, in-ground cremains, and columbarium niches.
For the second phase of work, Rialto Studio led the planning, design, and construction oversight on the $11 million dollar renovation project to the historic portion of the cemetery. There was close work with Texas Historic Commission due to the age of the project, as well as it is meaningful significance as a national memorial for those who have served our country. Historically significant items such as the cemetery entry gates, Superintendent’s house (which was renovated into a visitor’s center), and grave site section markers were repaired and/or replaced to preserve their intent. Infrastructure, such as a failing storm sewer system, roadways and irrigation system were also addressed within the project to help restore the cemetery to its grandeur.
The largest challenge of the project was to create a separation between the cemetery property and the Fort Sam Houston Post. Following the events of 9/11, there was an increased need to create security for the post, while maintaining interments and visitation for veterans families and friends. After many explorations, it was decided that a grade separation (overpass/underpass) was the most secure and cost effective. Rialto led the design and development of a grade separated crossing that met the needs of the two entities, while also satisfying the requirements of the Texas Historic Commission.