The growing trend of cremation the past 20 years has led to a national trend in such memorial parks at colleges. Taylor said as people have become more transient — moving from city to city instead of staying in their hometowns for a lifetime — they have become less connected to hometown churches or cemeteries. So people are looking for meaningful places to inter remains.
Plans for the structure began last spring but the discussion began decades ago. Taylor said the national trend of such columbariums, as well as other beautification and construction projects going on around Christ Chapel, served as catalysts for finally moving forward.
An undisclosed gift covering the cost of construction came from Nancy Lindau and the Lindau family, who are longtime supporters of Gustavus. Sales of the 300 niches will pay for maintenance and upkeep, among other things. Each niche costs $2,000 for one person's remains or $3,000 for two.
The structure also will include an area to engrave the names of students who die while attending Gustavus.
“Hopefully, what the feeling is for everyone is, 'Wow, people feel that connected to this place?'” Taylor said. “It's a sense of longevity and history.”