A new columbarium offers Virginia Tech alumni a final resting place bordering campus.
The columbarium, an above ground burial place for ashes, is located on a terrace on the grounds of the Holtzman Alumni Center. It was built with Hokie stone and has maroon granite covering each of its 60 niches. Each niche has room for two urns.
“It has a view toward the Duck Pond and to the campus,” said Tom Tillar, vice president of alumni relations. “It has a nice view from that rise and it has a nice tree beside it.
“The height may surprise you when you’re actually standing on the niche side. It’s tall, above your head.”
Tillar said many consider their experiences at college to be some of the most important of their lives, and that this columbarium gives them an opportunity to extend their connection to Tech. Spots in the columbarium cost $5,000.
The columbarium, funded in part by donations from a group of alumni and class gifts from the 2008 and 2010 graduating classes, currently has only one set of ashes, which were interred in November 2010, in time for Veterans Day.
Brent Blackwell, a member of Tech’s class of 1963 and the Corps of Cadets and Highty-Tighties, served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
His ashes were interred in a ceremony that included a bugler from the corps and the presentation of his sabre to the
Since the columbarium was finished, alumni response has been high.
“We’ve had, I’d say upwards of 50 calls of interest,” Tillar said. “They understand it’s likely to be very popular, so most of them who call say ‘I’d like to do this while there are still available niches.’”
Tillar explained that the site was designed with expansion in mind.
“When you stand behind it you can see that there could be additional walls constructed to hold more niches and border the terrace,” Tillar said.
Tech is one of several area schools with columbariums, including Duke University and the University of Virginia.