MANDAN, N.D. -- Veterans and their families will soon have a new option for a final resting place at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.

Cremated remains handled by the cemetery south of Mandan are currently buried, but construction is expected to begin next summer on a columbarium, which is a structure designed to hold urns above ground. The cemetery secured federal funding earlier this month for the project.

The first phase, with space to inter 1,800 remains, could be finished as soon as the summer of 2021.

The cemetery worked with landscape architecture students from North Dakota State University on the design. Fargo-based firm Shultz + Associates Architects, which is further refining the design to ready it for construction.

The design work from NDSU was included in a grant application seeking $1.3 million in federal funds to build the columbarium. The state received word earlier this month from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that it plans to award the money.

This will be the second new columbarium in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Another smaller structure is slated to be installed this spring at the Mandan Union Cemetery.