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Welcome Center

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We’re ready to welcome you!

Lakewood expands our outreach with a new Welcome Center.

The doors to our new Welcome Center are now open and we’re ready to serve families and visitors from the new building. The Welcome Center is a new place at Lakewood where anyone can come to make plans and be inspired by the creative ways people choose to remember those they’ve lost. It’s one of many ways Lakewood is reimagining how we can best serve families and our community in modern life. 

The new Welcome Center and surrounding landscape serve as:

  • A more inviting and accessible point of entry to Lakewood 
  • A state-of-the-art space to serve individuals and families who choose to be memorialized and remembered at Lakewood 
  • A center for robust community events and programming centered on remembrance
  • A model of environmental responsibility and one of the first net-zero energy ready buildings in Minneapolis 

Upcoming events taking place at the Welcome Center

This project is a reflection of our vision to reimagine and expand on what a cemetery can be. The Welcome Center allows us to better support families and the community, now and into the future, while demonstrating our commitment as responsible stewards of Lakewood’s 250 park-like acres, a haven in the heart of the city.”

Chris Makowske
Lakewood President

Lakewood is now more inviting and accessible: 

  • Discover a welcoming front entrance with ADA paths, new pedestrian entrances, and clear wayfinding signage surrounded by three distinct garden areas, water features and seating for visitors. 
  • The new Welcome Center building is bright, accessible, warm and welcomes all generations, faiths and cultures. 

The building is a state-of-the-art space to support families: 

  • An accessible and expanded Family Services area will allow Lakewood advisors to meet with individuals and families in person and provide a comforting presence and listening ear. 
  • Peaceful, dedicated private rooms are ideal for creating plans and discussing possibilities about how to remember loved ones. 

It’s also a center for robust community programming: 

  • A new community room allows us to host more workshops, book clubs and panel discussions that bring greater awareness and understanding to topics surrounding death, grief and remembrance. 
  • The vision for the center’s new gallery space is to feature art and educational exhibits that spark thought and conversation about ritual, grief, cultural traditions and creativity in how we remember. 
  • The space includes both indoor and outdoor spaces for educational and community gatherings. 
Interior Rendering

It’s one of the first net-zero energy ready buildings in Minneapolis: 

  • Net-zero energy ready means the Welcome Center has been designed to produce as much energy as it uses (within a year-long time period). 
  • State-of-the-art energy conservation and generation systems include a geothermal mechanical system, a high-performance building envelope, and a rooftop solar array. 
  • The Welcome Center was built using sustainably sourced building materials and landscaped with perennial plantings that support pollinators and require less watering over time. 

General FAQs

What’s special about Lakewood’s new Welcome Center?

Lakewood is focused on providing services and programming that invite meaningful end-of-life exploration and support families in making plans to memorialize and remember loved ones. The Welcome Center makes it easier for the public to access Lakewood’s many resources and invites the public to come for a contemplative walk or an inspiring community event. It’s a place that’s intended to spark meaningful conversations about life and death and elevate the importance of “remembrance” for this community in new and creative ways.  

Who does the Welcome Center serve? How does this project benefit the community?

Lakewood is a nonprofit community resource, open to all. Yet many people aren’t sure where to go or what’s available to them when they have questions about death and memorialization. The Welcome Center is the place where anyone who visits can come and be introduced to what’s here. It’s a place to make end-of-life plans and be inspired by the many creative ways people can choose to remember those they’ve lost. In short, everyone is welcome here. You do not have to be affiliated with Lakewood in any way (or have family here) to come explore, learn and engage. 

In addition to community programming space and family consultation and support, what else will happen in the Welcome Center?

A majority of Lakewood’s staff will work in the new Welcome Center. On the main level, our Family Services team of memorialization advisors and service coordinators will meet with families, while upstairs will be desks and cubicles for our community outreach team, finance/accounting, IT, and HR and the Family Services team. We believe that having so much of our team working together in the same space will support a new level of collaboration and innovation in serving families and our community. 

Is this a new Administration Building?

Our administrative teams will work out of this building, but the Welcome Center is so much more – it’s a family and community engagement center, all about supporting memorialization and remembrance. 

What will happen to the existing Administration Building?

Completed in 1929, our existing Administration Building is an historic treasure and beautiful example of neoclassical architecture. This building will be repurposed. We are exploring several options.

Were any graves moved when building this?

No, absolutely not. The space was previously undeveloped.  

Especially for families and visitors

What does the Welcome Center offer for those who are interested in being remembered at Lakewood?

Lakewood supports families and individuals as they navigate loss, contemplate their legacy and consider how and where they will be remembered. Our experienced team of advisors can help people explore their options and make informed choices. The new Welcome Center offers a modern, comfortable setting and a supportive environment for these significant decisions and conversations. 

Can I rent the Welcome Center for a gathering?

We offer event rental space for receptions and memorial services in other buildings at Lakewood, like the Lakewood Memorial Chapel and the Lakewood Garden Mausoleum, but the Welcome Center does not offer event space rental. Instead, its focus is on helping individuals and families make plans and choices and engage in community conversations and programming.  

As a visitor, what can I do at the Welcome Center?

Visitors who aren’t consulting with our Family Services team can participate in a variety of programming that will be offered in or near the new building on a recurring basis, including educational talks, workshops, a book club, meditative yoga and much more. For more information about events and programming, visit Lakewood’s Events Calendar

Where do I park if I want to go inside?

Space for parking can be found along the roads in front of and near the building.  

Especially for plant and nature lovers 

I noticed new landscaping near the front gates.

We are very excited about our new plantings which support pollinators and are intended to use fewer resources, like water, as they mature. 

Will there be tulips this year?

Due to construction last fall, we were not able to plant tulip bulbs. We are exploring a couple of new spaces near the Welcome Center and/or the front gate area for our tulip display in future years.  

What are some of the sustainable and eco-friendly features of the building?

The new Welcome Center at Lakewood is one of the first net-zero energy ready buildings in Minneapolis, meaning it was designed to produce as much energy as it uses. (It is net-zero “ready” because it has to pass a year-long test before it’s official.) Net-zero energy can be accomplished through the building’s geothermal mechanical system, high-performance building envelope, and use of renewable energy created by a rooftop solar array. 

In addition to designing a building that generates solar energy and uses fewer resources for heating and cooling, several sustainability practices were employed during the project’s design and construction. These include:  

  • using sustainably sourced building materials  
  • minimizing and recycling construction waste  
  • using native and perennial plants that are pollinator-friendly and require less watering 
  • a design that better supports stormwater management 

Why was this important to Lakewood?

Lakewood’s 250 acres in southwest Minneapolis are a sanctuary in the heart of urban Minneapolis. To remain good stewards of the resources entrusted to us, Lakewood is taking steps to conserve and protect our natural environment for the benefit of our community. Major sustainability initiatives at Lakewood include our decision to invest in a net-zero energy ready building and achieving our level 2 arboretum designation. We also host educational programming on topics related to nature and the environment to engage conversations within the community.

Especially for architecture fans 

Who designed the building and landscape?

Lakewood engaged three local architecture firms known for their ability to balance tradition with innovation: Miller Dunwiddie, Snow Kreilich Architects and TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture. JE Dunn served as construction manager and NTH as owner’s representative.  

What was the design inspiration for this building?

The Welcome Center and its surrounding gardens are designed to become an open, inviting front door to Lakewood’s beautiful and rich campus. Warm materials and a strong connection between the interior of the building and the surrounding landscape make a welcoming experience for visitors. Careful attention to sustainability ensures stewardship of resources for coming generations. 

What are some of the elements that were considered in the design?

The building is conceived of as a pavilion within the greater landscape of Lakewood. A modern colonnade around the building connects interior to exterior and echoes the classical colonnade of the adjacent historical Administration Building. The building is clad in limestone and wood – timeless, warm materials. Interior spaces are carefully designed with views to the surrounding gardens and grounds, bringing the landscape of Lakewood into the building. 

A Collaborative Design Partnership  

To realize our vision, Lakewood engaged three local architecture firms known for their ability to balance tradition with innovation: Miller Dunwiddie, Snow Kreilich Architects and TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture. JE Dunn served as construction manager and NTH as owner’s representative 

Miller Dunwiddie Architecture Logo

Miller Dunwiddie

Miller Dunwiddie is a full-service architecture and design firm based in Minneapolis. Founded in 1963, the work of the firm began with a focus on aviation, workplace, and governmental projects. Since then, the firm’s expertise has grown to include preservation, interior design, transportation, and building envelope systems. Understanding history, context, and technology is paramount to the body of their work whether it’s the rehabilitation and renovation of an existing structure or creating a new building from the ground up. 

Snow Kreilich Architects logo

Snow Kreilich Architects

Snow Kreilich Architects is a nationally recognized and award-winning architectural studio-based practice in Minneapolis. With each project led by design principals Julie Snow and Matt Kreilich, the studio focuses on producing architecture that performs against multiple measures of design success. This focus has resulted in consistent design recognition for projects that rely on a fresh and intensive design investigation of every project. They have developed shared working methodologies that result in consistently intelligent buildings that are well conceived and carefully detailed.

Ten x Ten Architects logo

TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture

TEN x TEN is a landscape architecture and urban design practice grounded by a shared curiosity and passion for experimentation and agency. They collaborate with visionary clients and teams to co-create immersive future-focused landscapes that will adapt to social, economic and environmental transformation. TEN x TEN designs for resilience and flexibility, monitoring what makes places thrive, adapt and be loved long after they are built. Their approach elevates the everyday human experience through a deep respect for the authenticity of people, culture and ecology.

JeDunn Construction logo

JE Dunn Construction

Established in 1924, JE Dunn Construction is a national commercial contractor with 24 offices, including its Minnesota office, which has been in operation for over 75 years. As an employee- and family-owned business, they are known for creatively driving value during design and construction; as a result, over 80% of their business is derived from existing or referral relationships. Their local projects demonstrate a breadth and depth of talent unmatched in the region, with a portfolio composed of buildings that cut across type and function. These are projects with unique features, complex code and regulatory issues, and often complicated challenges; each brought to life through collaboration and what their clients tell them is a great experience.

NTH

NTH is a real estate and project management firm helping clients make smart real estate and construction decisions. Founded over 25 years ago, NTH was one of the first companies in Minnesota to exclusively represent the users of real estate. They provide customized solutions that meet clients’ real estate needs and business goals. Their senior-level team is hands on: all clients have access to decades of experience and insights. NTH has extensive knowledge of the real estate market and offers unmatched, valuable insight into both existing properties and new developments. NTH speaks construction, which keeps their clients informed of the true costs and potential impact of project decisions. NTH is a WBENC – Certified Women’s Business Enterprise.

Questions/Contact

For questions about this project, contact us at info@lakewoodcemetery.org.

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