Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Administration Building Renovations
Romulus, New York
Winner of the 2014 AIA Rochester Design Excellence Award
The Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery is located on one of the most significant military sites in New York State's Finger Lakes Region. On the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, it was initially developed as a World War II Naval Training Station and later rededicated as a Korean War Era Air Force Basic Training Center.
The Cemetery site is located on 162 acres in the southern part of the property. Seneca County has recently completed Phase I of the Cemetery Master Plan which includes: initial Burial Sections, a Flag/Assembly Area, and the primary roads. As part of this phase, the building shell restoration of the original base’s firehouse was undertaken so that it could serve as the future Cemetery Administration Building and Sanctuary.
Working with available funds dedicated to initiate the building components of the Master Plan, the firehouse was identified for restoration. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) Facilities Guidelines were used to establish the program and to comply with Federal construction requirements.
The renovations included: masonry restoration of the building shell, complete roof and floor framing replacement, window replacement, new canopies and awnings, and the construction of a new shaft within the hose tower to serve an elevator. The building’s interior has been stabilized for future build-out once funding becomes available.
The primary design goal was to transform and adapt the building for its new use in a sustainable and sensitive manner. The entire upper tower was rebuilt and internally lit to act as a beacon-like focal point for the cemetery. Canopies were introduced to the original fire truck bays and the garage was converted into a sanctuary and assembly space for interment ceremonies.
A natural palette of materials includes standing-seam metal roofs, aluminum and glass windows, and natural wood canopies and trim, all selected to complement and enhance the original masonry exterior. It is our hope that, with this project, the structure will continue to embody the physical memory of the site's rich history.