Hamilton County Coroner

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners took a routine action during their weekly staff meeting Monday. But the Board is upset at just how routine this particular action has become.

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.

Sarah Ramsey

Replacement parts for 40-year-old body coolers are hard to find. But after some searching, Hamilton County officials have found the part needed to fix the broken compressor on the main body cooler in the coroner's office.

County Administrator Christian Sigman says the part was found in Louisville and costs $3,500, but it's the only one the company has. He says he hopes to have the cooler back in service by Friday. Sigman says the county will continue the search for a second part just in case something goes wrong with the back-up body cooler.

The Hamilton County coroner will get a long-awaited and expanded crime lab after the Hamilton County commissioners today accepted a gift of the former Mercy Mt. Airy Hospital.

Whether or not the Hamilton County Board of Elections goes along to the Kipling Road building remains to be seen.

The commissioners had until the end of the month to decide whether or not to accept Catholic Health Partner’s offer of the 500,000 square foot building and the surrounding land.

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.

The initial report on Hamilton County's facilities needs is in and it paints a picture of aging buildings and deferred maintenance. With some offices bursting at the seams and others only half full, the county is looking at ways to consolidate operations.

One possibility is converting the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital to hold the coroner, board of elections and some sheriff's offices.

Commissioners Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune  says while this may seem like a good deal, the county needs to keep an eye on costs.

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."