THE PRESIDIO of Monterey Cemetery is scheduled for major improvements, the Presidio's Directorate of Public Works (DPW) has announced.

Tai H. Cao, POM DPW, said the project will include leveling of the cemetery grounds, placing new topsoil and installing new sod, leveling and aligning of headstones, installing a new sprinkler system, painting the flagpole and repairing the stone fencing.

Cao said the approximate cost of the project is $513,610. The estimated completion date for the project is Jan. 29, 2010, which Cao said could be delayed by inclement weather.

The cemetery was laid out in 1904 and contains 388 plots. The oldest grave is that of Army Pvt. George S. Johnson who died on March 6 that year. Johnson was an African-American cavalryman of the 9th U.S. Cavalry, one of the Indian-fighting "Buffalo Soldier" regiments that became famous during the U.S. westward expansion.

All but a few burials predate 1946, the year the Presidio became the home of the Army Language School, later renamed the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.