Update Expected Today on $20M Morgue Facility Eyed for County-owned Land in East Milton

Posted on January 26, 2022 by Romi White

Santa Rosa County as part of its cost-sharing, plans to give the District One Medical Examiner project up to 10 acres of land in East Milton – possibly at the Northwest Florida Industrial Park @ I-10. Additionally, around $4.4 million would need to be contributed toward the effort if current plans progress.

The nonprofit District One Medical Examiner Support, Inc., which oversees the District One Medical Examiner’s Office, will meeting today from 3-4 pm at the Santa Rosa County Administrative Complex, located at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.

During the meeting a morgue facility project update will be presented by Santa Rosa County Interim Assistant County Administrator Brad Baker. Santa Rosa County plans to donate up to 10 acres of land in East Milton as part of its cost sharing for a new facility.

The District One staff have outgrown their current 4,000-square-foot facility, which serves Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties, located at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital with additional offices on Airport Boulevard in Pensacola.

Although roughly half of the medical examiner cases stem from Escambia County, preliminary discussions had suggested Escambia fund 35% of costs, Okaloosa pay 30%, Walton pay 13% and Santa Rosa pay 22% plus the land donation.

The proposed new facility would be five times larger and cost an estimated $20 million, meaning Santa Rosa County would also be on the hook for about $4.4 million – if the initial cost-sharing percentages are agreed upon.

Last month Caldwell Associates Architects was selected to design the facility.

Per the DOMES meeting’s agenda, the following other matters will be presented for discussion by Dan Schebler, director of operations for the 1st Judicial Medical Examiner:

  • Approval of November 22 and December 7 minutes;
  • Review draft of bylaws, including a proposed bylaw amendment to establish officers, specifically the CEO, COO and Chief Medical Officer. Per state statute, the District Medical Examiner serves as CEO. The amendment states the Director of Operations (Schebler) may be named COO and that an Associate Medical Examiner may be nominated as Chief Medical Officer;
  • Amendment to Interlocal Agreement;
  • Financial Report.