SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — This month marks one year since the South Dakota State Veterans Cemetery opened on the northeast edge of Sioux Falls. More than 330 veterans have been buried at the cemetery over the past year, and the staff is still getting many requests from across the nation for future burials. This final resting place for those who’ve served their country remains a work in progress.

Groundskeepers ramp-up their workload as soon as the frost leaves the ground at the South Dakota State Veterans Cemetery.

“We’re cleaning up all of our plants and trees and started the sprinkler system once again and just kind of spring cleanup that you would do at home, just on a bigger scale out here,” State Veterans Cemetery Director Erin Brown said.

A much bigger scale: 60 acres of scenic and solemn South Dakota prairie, hallowed ground spanning the past 12 months.

“It was a sigh of relief that the project was complete and we were able to open and start serving veterans and their families,” South Dakota Dept. of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Aaron Pollard said.

Organizers had to find their own footing starting up the state’s first veterans cemetery. There were a lot of unknowns when they launched a year ago.

“Where do we put vehicles? Where do we move dirt? How do we put in a headstone,” Brown said.

“As we tighten up the operation and learn more about operating a cemetery, it’s going to take on its own look, the plants are going to mature a little more, the trees are going to mature, a little bit more,” Pollard said.

There have been 336 burials here as of last week. The farthest coming from Alabama.

“I think we expected somewhere above 250 burials in that first year, but we weren’t 100-percent positive because we didn’t know, we didn’t know how many people had loved ones at home that they were wanting to bring out here,” Pollard said.

Interest remains strong among other veterans wanting to be buried here.

“I’m still surprised at how many pre-applications we continue to get every month. We’re still getting about 40 every month of pre-applications,” Brown said.

Those applications come from all across the country, many of them from native South Dakotans.

“A lot of them grew up here and for them, it’s kind of coming home and they’ll call to say did you get my application and they’ll kind of give you the back story of I grew up here and it’s time to come back home,” Brown said.

The cemetery has space for more than 2,300 burial plots, with room to grow in the years ahead. There’s already one expansion in the works.

The City of Sioux Falls has been in the process of donating nearly 40 acres south of the cemetery. While no final decision has been made yet on what to do with that additional land, one option could be to add more parking to the cemetery.

“This cemetery is made to conduct funerals. It’s not made to conduct large events. But we’re going to have some large events out here where there may be thousands of people here. Well, if we don’t bus them all in, we have to have somewhere to park them. So, that’s one of the options were looking at right now,” Pollard said.

An average of five funerals are held here every week. As the cemetery enters its second year, the staff’s commitment to meeting the needs of veterans and their families will last far into the future.

“This is a lifetime project for all of us, so, the work’s not done, it’s just beginning and we’re going to continue to do it,” Pollard said.

The cemetery will commemorate its first anniversary during a Memorial Day ceremony on May 30th. Music starts at 10 a.m. with the ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m. Buses will leave the South Dakota Military Heritage to shuttle people to the cemetery.