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What is it?

The Iowa Veterans Cemetery (IVC) will be the first state-owned and operated veterans cemetery in the State of Iowa. The cemetery will serve the veteran population throughout the state and will provide sufficient burial space for more than twenty years in the first phase of the project. When construction is completed, any eligible veteran, their spouse and eligible dependents may be interred at the cemetery. State residency will not be a prerequisite to be interred at the cemetery.

Construction should begin on the project in late July 2007, with an anticipated opening around Memorial Day 2008. Thanks to the generous contribution of land by two donors and a combination of a federal grant and state funds, and the tireless efforts of many, veterans and family members have a new state benefit in the form of dignified military burial. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on November 11, 2006. Find out more information on the history of this project and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs State Cemetery program. We invite you to learn more about the project by following construction progress.

Where is it?

The IVC is centrally located and runs along Interstate 80 west of Des Moines in Dallas County near the community of Van Meter. Exit I-80 at the Van Meter Exit (Exit 113) and head south (“R” Avenue). The cemetery entrance will be easily identified just southeast of the Interstate. A temporary sign now marks the location of the “Future Home of the Iowa Veterans Cemetery.”

map of cemetery area

What does it look like?

Site Development Plan: Rendering of the Four Phases of Construction

The cemetery is centrally located on 96 acres in Dallas County bordering Interstate 80 approximately 10 miles west of Des Moines. The first Phase (light green shading) involves the development of approximately 40 acres, which will include a main entrance feature, 12,110 total gravesites (9850 4’x8’ standard gravesites, 500 double depth gravesites, 770 columbarium niches for cremated remains, and 990 in-ground cremains). Funding also provides for the development of an administration and maintenance complex, assembly area, committal service shelter, memorial walk, and supporting infrastructure. Phase 1 of the cemetery is estimated to meet the needs of eligible veterans and their families for 20 years. Phases 2-4 will are available for future expansion.

Site Development Plan

Phase 1 Enlarged view of Site Development Plan
Enlarged View of the Black and White Overall Site Plan

The site is composed of mostly flat to gently rolling hills with open meadows and a variety of trees, grasses and shrubs. The design of the cemetery remains in keeping with the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside.

cemetery site


The Administration and Maintenance Building complex will be the hub of daily operations. Administration/Maintenance Building

The IVC was developed through a federal grant so it is being operated under United States Department of Veterans Affairs standards. As such, graveside services are not provided for at state veteran cemeteries. All funeral services must be held prior to arrival at the cemetery. Only committal services, if elected by the family, are held at the Committal Service Shelter. A committal service takes the place of the graveside service. After the committal service, cemetery staff professionally and privately transport the casket (or cremains) to a designated location for interment.

Committal Service Shelter

To learn more about the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, please visit the other links found at the top of this page.

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