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County Debuts New Medical Examiner and Forensic Center

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Medical Examiner's Building

December 17, 2009

Not enough room for grieving families.  A cramped examination room. Temporary trailers to make up for the lack of space.  Staff at the County Medical Examiner's office has labored in challenging quarters for decades.  Not anymore.

Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and the Board of Supervisors today unveiled the new County Medical Examiner & Forensic Center in Kearny Mesa.  The facility puts state-of-the-art technology in a setting designed to maximize workflow and enhance the intricate science that take place within its walls.

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“This is critical public infrastructure designed to meet the region’s changing needs for decades to come,” Jacob said. “The center than can accommodate a large-scale disaster while prioritizing compassion for grieving families.”

The 84,000-square-foot facility at 5570 Overland Ave. includes a Bereavement Center, expanded toxicology lab, teaching classroom and electronic touch-screens at exam stations to better manage cases.

The center meets silver-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Examination room“Every day, there are tremendous developments in the forensic sciences. We now have the space to harness those breakthroughs to solve crime, find answers, track trends of disease, trauma, drug addiction and better serve the public,” said Dr. Glenn Wagner, Chief Medical Examiner.

“The facility provides a unique opportunity to explore critical public-private partnerships among government, academia and industry.”

The Board of Supervisors budgeted $85 million for the project; the project came in on time and under budget at $73 million. The County paid for the project in cash.  It is the first building to be completed within the larger County Operations Center campus currently under construction.

“Every case is special; it is that person’s last opportunity to tell of their death and their life— a story certainly worth hearing and learning from,” Wagner said.

To learn more, visit the the County Medical Examiner Web site.

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