Greene County Morgue is now open
A long awaited county morgue is now open — paving the way for quicker death investigations, officials say.
County leaders unveiled the finished $2.7 million building Thursday. The morgue is on Campbell Avenue, just south of the Public Safety Center.
No longer will autopsies for those who die in Greene County have to routinely be done in Columbia where the county has contracted Medical Examiner services. That has sometimes slowed down crime investigations and inconvenienced families of the deceased.
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams said, "For the last few years, that has been a very cumbersome process."
Greene County conducted 230 autopsies last year said Jim Viebrock, Greene County Presiding Commissioner.
Commissioner Harold Bengsch called the morgue "state of the art."
In April, Chris Coulter, director of resource management for Greene County, said county officials were looking forward to having members of the University of Missouri's medical examiner staff working and living in the community.
Coulter said the county planned to lease the facility to the university, which will have a medical examiner working on site.
The county will also continue to contract with Springfield Mortuary on transporting bodies for autopsies.
Officials have said the morgue will start out with a cooler, autopsy room, evidence room, law enforcement observing area, family viewing area and offices. There is space that will eventually be used for X-ray or CT scans, a decomposition cooler, a cytology lab and space for two additional autopsy tables, but those features don't fit in the current budget for the facility.
There's also space to the north and west of the building that can be used for an eventual expansion.
The project was financed by a $23 million bond issue in 2010 that also covered construction of the Public Safety Center, which houses the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management, the 911 communications center and the Greene County Sheriff's Office training division.