Following completion of a five-month expansion project, Upper Arlington's lone funeral home has reopened to the community.

Following completion of a five-month expansion project, Upper Arlington's lone funeral home has reopened to the community.

For 54 years, Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Services has operated its Northwest Chapel at 1740 Zollinger Road in Upper Arlington. The sixth-generation family-owned business unveiled a modernized approach to its services Friday, Dec. 18, when the Northwest Chapel reopened.

"We're the only funeral home in Upper Arlington and it's the largest-volume (Schoedinger) building," said Michael Schoedinger, company president and co-owner, along with his brother, Kevin, and cousin, Randy. "It's a very busy place.

"The community has been inconvenienced for five months and a huge number of funerals that would've been in Upper Arlington had to go somewhere else. Now, we just want people to know we're back in Upper Arlington."

The Northwest Chapel was revamped with two additions totaling 4,600 square feet.

Visitors will observe elevated ceilings, a fireplace and piano, in addition to larger restrooms that are accessible to people with disabilities.

A new chapel features a 15-foot ceiling and seating for 250, and new windows were installed throughout the building.

"There was no light coming in before," Randy Schoedinger said. "Now, this is bringing in as much natural lighting as possible."

The expansion project included the construction of an outdoor reception space that can accommodate small memorial services or offer a gathering area following a service.

The Schoedingers also installed an outdoor fireplace and "reflecting pool," a covered portico and upgraded indoor audio-video amenities; free Wi-Fi is available throughout the building.

Additionally, food preparation areas were built.

"One of the biggest trends is incorporating food and beverages into the services," Randy Schoedinger said.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 18, one of the project's leaders, Tom Lewis of M&A Architects, noted workers hand-chiseled stone to match the interior and exterior of the existing building.

In addition to paying homage to the business' local tradition, Lewis said the larger spaces and amenities inside and outside the funeral home should better meet current clients' needs.

"I think with the team collectively, we've really created a whole new experience," he said.

Upper Arlington Mayor Don Leach was on hand for the ceremony. He said the funeral home has been a staple in the community's history.

"It's a great honor to recognize one of Upper Arlington's oldest and finest businesses in this development," Leach said. "This is a time of year when you're celebrating family and giving, and that's so much of what Schoedinger has been over the years."

City Senior Planning Officer Chad Gibson said it is important that the Schoedinger family chose to maintain and grow their services in the local community.

"The Schoedinger funeral home has operated on Zollinger Road for over five decades and has provided an important community service to multiple generations," Gibson said. "The city is extremely pleased that the Schoedinger family chose to reinvest in Upper Arlington by renovating and expanding this facility.

"The (Upper Arlington) Board of Zoning and Planning, city staff and Schoedinger's team collaborated beautifully to move this project forward in a timely manner. The result is a stunning building, as well as an enhanced Zollinger Road streetscape."