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Cost of county morgue climbs up to $150,000
Hospital gives county another time extension
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The county has been granted a second extension as it works to build a county morgue on Omni Drive.
Tim McGill, CEO of River Park Hospital, has given the morgue project a second extension, moving the completion date to July 1 of next year.
Said county safety coordinator David Britton, “He has given us another extension. If you know from history he gave us an extension until the first of the year to give us time to get our homework together and find out what we’ve got to have in place. Just as of yesterday he gave us another extension, but it’s firm. As of July 1 of next year, we have to be ready to go. I don’t have anything but good to say for Mr. McGill and his team. He’s been very generous to keep extending our time.”
Preliminary numbers project the morgue costing up to $150,000. Final numbers will not be known until the building location is determined.
Earlier this year, McGill sent a letter to then-County Executive John Pelham saying River Park Hospital would longer accept dead bodies effective Monday, July 7, at 8 a.m. This deadline was later extended to Jan. 1, 2015.
Britton said, “We’ve been actively working with Mr. McGill for the last couple of months on procedures, transitions of duties, and that kind of thing. We’re pretty close on exactly how everything is going to operate.”
Plans are to locate the “staging facility,” the phrase suggested by Britton, off Omni Drive between Ambulance Station No. 1 and the county billing office.
The property was already owned by the county and offers the ability to have separate entrances for families visiting the facility and the entrance/ exit area for bodies. Ideally, the families will never see ambulances or hearses enter or leave the morgue.
Britton has suggested three possible building locations on the site and these will be reviewed by an architect to decide which one is the most cost-effective location. The facility will have a viewing area and restrooms available, Britton told the county’s Building and Grounds Committee
“The main intention here is have a room for the family to go into that is very nicely furnished with sheetrock walls and drop ceilings, with a very basic restroom layout that meets ADA requirements,” said Britton.
After the update, Commissioner David Rhea asked, “Would this be able to be added on to? Seems like we always build things too small, so we need the ability to expand.”
Britton replied, “Yes. We would want to make sure the site the architect helps us pick out would have the capability for us to expand.”
Building and Grounds Committee chairman Carl E. Bouldin praised Britton for the work done so far. “I’m certainly proud that you are this far along. It’s a big project.”
Commissioner Michael Shane Wilcher agreed, saying, “You’ve handled this very well and very respectfully and I appreciate that. I don’t know if I could have done the job you’ve done in the situation.”
The committee members, Bouldin, Rhea, Wilcher, Carolyn Miller, and Kenny Roberts, voted 5-0 to give Britton permission to go forward with the project.