Construction to begin on new York County morgue

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

The York County Board of Commissioners approved $1.3 million in contracts Wednesday for construction of a new morgue at the York County Coroner's Office.

The coroner's office was recently relocated to a vacant wing of York County Prison, and the morgue is the second phase of that relocation.

"We’ve looked at other buildings to purchase, possibly renovate and build a new morgue, and this definitely was the most cost-effective way to move forward," said Commissioner Doug Hoke.

Plans for building a morgue at the prison have been in the works since early 2019.

Keller Contracting Inc., based in Manchester Township, will be the general contractor  for the project, at a cost of about $698,000.

Frey Lutz Corporation, based in Lancaster County, will do the heating, ventilation and air conditioning at a cost of about $175,000.

SSM Industries Inc., based in Pittsburgh, will do the plumbing work for about $240,000, and WYElectric LLC, based in Adams County, will do the electrical work for about $147,000.

York County Coroner Pam Gay talks about a planned morgue in a former ICE detention dormitory at the relocated coroner's office at the York County Prison Complex Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The morgue is slated for completion in mid-2121. Bill Kalina photo

The contractors will renovate 2,100 square-feet of existing space and build a 900-square-foot addition to serve as a secure entry way for ambulances to deliver the bodies of decedents, said county engineer John Klinedinst of C.S. Davidson.

The contracts are for 180 days, Klinedinst said, and the goal is to have the new morgue ready for use by early 2021.

York County Coroner Pam Gay has been pushing for the county to establish its own morgue for years.

For decades, York Hospital has been sharing its small morgue with the coroner's office at no cost to the county. But with room for only eight or nine bodies at a time, Gay has said the morgue regularly reaches or exceeds its capacity. 

In fact, the York Hospital morgue has been in overflow status for the past week, Gay said Thursday.

"It can’t come soon enough," she said. "I’m very thankful."

More:Coroner moves into new office at York County Prison

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