Mt. Airy hospital won't house new crime lab

Feb 23, 2015

The current Coroner's Office and Crime Lab in Clifton is cramped and outdated.
Credit 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.

"Today, I think that we should move on from Mt. Airy." ~ Commissioner Greg Hartmann

Commissioner Portune agreed, adding concerns over the location's accessibility issues.

Hartmann wants to pursue other options. "We've got existing space and I think we need to continue to look at the space we've got in the county," he says.

To that end he's recommending having an architecture firm look at existing county-owned buildings and offer possibilities for a new crime lab. He says his plan would call for separating the crime lab and morgue facilities.

One possibility Hartmann suggests is moving the Public Defender's offices from 9th St. to the county administration building, and creating a crime lab there.

Hartmann says he'll likely draft a letter to Catholic Health Partners declining the offer.