Hamilton County Commission

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners officially voted Wednesday to 'close the book' on the idea of using the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital for a new crime lab.

Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco says she's not satisfied.

"We're very disappointed that the appropriate people weren't brought together to make just the retrofit happen for the crime lab and the morgue in such a way that the current hospital spaces could have been used without costing the tax payers a whole lot of money," Sammarco says.

Hamilton County / Provided

After more than a year of waiting for an answer, the group which owns the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital site is looking for new options.  

Mercy Health offered to give Hamilton County the former hospital building. The idea was to renovate part of the facility into a crime lab, replacing the county's current cramped outdated one.

But this week, commissioners agreed to decline the offer.

Spokeswoman Nanette Bentley says Mercy Health is already weighing other options.

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While the coroner's office has been in the news a lot lately for being cramped and outdated, it's not the only department with space needs.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.

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