Orange County Medical Examiner's Office, District 9
This project is the first LEED GOLD Certified Medical Examiners facility in the Country.
The District Nine Medical Examiner’s Office is a 11.0 Million, 41,283 sf facility that consists of three separate buildings: Medical Examiner’s Office, Morgue and Decomposition Morgue. MRI was originally commissioned to prepare the facility program and preliminary planning effort for the facility that serves both Orange and Osceola Counties. The Facility is a N.A.M.E. accredited facility. Our Design Team performs services for the Federal Government and Defense Contractors for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) for the Military, Federal Courthouses and Walt Disney World and understands that our clients documents are secure/confidential. Our policy is to not disclose work and clients outside of our offices. We shred or burn unused documents.
The project consists of a public face which is represented by the Administration Building which contains the Medical Examiner’s offices, a large teaching classroom, administrative functions, records retrieval, and a meeting/interview room for court depositions. This building is filled with light and finishes that are welcoming to a grieving public.
The Morgue building consists of eight autopsy suites, coolers for 120 bodies, an enclosed intake and discharge garage, evidence storage, case investigators offices, morgue technician office suite and secondary off-hours public entrance. This building houses a 24/7 operation that must be tightly designed, (based on workflow) secure and monitored to ensure that evidence and bodies are not tampered with or lost.
Like many science and laboratory facilities much of the project’s costs are tied up in the “guts” of the building; special equipment, lab areas, HVAC and electric support. At the same time the client and user wanted a unique facility that had features unlike most morgues: day lighting, textured (but sanitary) finishes, and special sequencing of indoor and outdoor spaces.
N.A.M.E. DESIGN FEATURES
· Facility is access controlled
· Laboratories are physically separated/access control
· Administrative areas are separated from autopsy / Labs
· After hours evidence storage
· Breakroom, conference areas and Library
· Design considers odor control for all spaces, including adjacent neighborhood
· Security control from public at reception desk
· Facility design for mass disasters with three main coolers and spaces for refrigeration trailers. These are adjacent to autopsy rooms.
· Facility designed for use of x-rays
· Body identification can occur from monitors or viewing area
· Covered and closed body receiving areas are designed for multiple vehicles, controlled and are secure from public view.
· Decomp Morgue is separate and is also designed for infectious control.
· Coolers are monitored for temperature/failure.
· Ventilation system is designed to burn odors in flumes prior to release to neighborhood.
· Body scales are located next to body delivery.
· Plumbing is designed to be serviced outside of autopsy suites to prevent shut-downs and also have flush valves at floor drains for insect control.
· Flooring and finishes are design to be non porous and easily cleaned and resists dropped scalpel punctures.
· HVAC is designed with HEPA filters and UV light.
· Radiology room is designed adjacent to autopsy suite.
· Decomp Morgue has its own cooler, enclosed garage, autopsy area, pathology area and independent HVAC and exhaust system
All is well. We still love our facility and it feels like only yesterday it opened. I still have the Grand Opening announcement on my desk just to remember the date which is hard to believe is coming up on 10 years!
Feel free to reach out later about lessons learned, but I think the key take away is having your firm complete the space needs assessment and then turning around and being our architectural firm! You knew what we wanted.
Regards, Sheri Blanton"