crime lab

Provided, Hamilton County Coroner

  Hamilton County commissioners met behind closed doors with the county coroner Wednesday morning to discuss acquiring property for a new crime lab, but apparently came no closer to choosing a site.

In February, commissioners abandoned a plan on using part of the old Mercy Mount Airy Hospital for the new crime lab. Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco says finding a new home for the crime lab is a must, because the old one is cramped and out-of-date.

Sammarco came out of this morning's (Wednesday's) meeting saying they were making progress.

Hamilton County / Provided

Hamilton County Commissioners are set to turn down an offer to take over the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital. They'd been considering it to house a new crime lab and possibly other county offices.

While the coroner's office has been in the news a lot lately for being cramped and outdated, it's not the only department with space needs. The county is reviewing its entire building stock.

Even though the former Mercy Mt. Airy site would have been free, renovations would have cost $80 - $100 million. Hamilton County Commissioners say that's just too high.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are poised to reject an offer to take over the former Mercy Mt. Airy site.

"With budgetary constraints," says commission president Greg Hartmann, "I just don't think that our move to Mt. Airy is going to be fiscally prudent. I don't think that we can afford to invest $80-100 million, absent a new revenue source, in that facility. Today, I think that we should move on from Mt. Airy."

Commissioners Hartmann and Monzel say even though the building would be free, the renovation costs are too high.

Hamilton County / Provided

After spending months analyzing the deal, Hamilton County Commissioners still have more questions about an offer to take over the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital site.

Catholic Health Partners is offering to give the site to the county, which would turn part of the building into a new crime lab.

But before accepting, commissioners want a plan for funding renovations. County administration estimates it will cost $40 million to fit-out a new crime lab or $100 million to completely renovate the entire building.

Provided, Hamilton County Coroner

Hamilton County Commissioners continue to weigh an offer to turn the former Mercy Mount Airy hospital into a new crime lab.

Catholic Health Partners is willing to give the facility to the county for free and the county coroner says the cost to renovate the old hospital would be a lot less than building a whole new crime lab. To make the deal cost effective, however, the county wants to move the Board of Elections out there as well.

New figures are in on how much it would cost to convert Mercy Mt. Airy hospital into a new crime lab for the coroner's office.

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco says a new architectural study puts renovation costs at $21.5 million, well under the projected $56 million to build a new facility.

"The building is sound and it's a gift," says Sammarco. "I think we really need to look at it as this is going to be the most economical way for us to get a new crime lab."