The city is reviewing a permit application for Perry-McCall Construction Inc. to build a new District IV Medical Examiner’s Office while City Council considers legislation to move up $62.81 million in the budget to pay for the project that could total more than $88 million.
The application says the two-story, 49,652-square-foot building would sit on 4.12 acres at 4368 N. Davis St. at a project cost of $57.25 million. It is east of Interstate 95 and north of Golfair Boulevard.
On March 28, City Council President Terrance Freeman filed emergency legislation requested by Mayor Lenny Curry to borrow and appropriate the $62.81 million to speed up the project.
This advances and adds to money the city previously budgeted for the facility in the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years Capital Improvement Plan.
An exhibit filed with the bill says the money is needed this year because Jacksonville’s population spike has increased the need for autopsy services and the city has outgrown its existing facility at 2100 N. Jefferson St. The Medical Examiner’s Office serves Duval, Nassau, Clay, Hamilton, and Columbia counties.
According to the bill and exhibits, the city wants to start project in May.
The documents say the existing Medical Examiner’s Office, built in 1968 and renovated in 1994, reached its capacity of 45 bodies several times in the last six months.
The Curry administration says in the documents that case volume justifies moving the bill as a one-cycle emergency.
The mayor’s budget and the Council originally appropriated $26 million in prior and the current years’ CIPs for the project, according to the city’s FY 2022-23 plan adopted in September 2022.
Ordinance 2023-0214 would amend this year’s CIP to add $62.81 million for the office and authorize the Curry administration to borrow the money using the city’s commercial paper program and/or through fixed-rate bond debt.
In total, the city says the new medical examiner’s office will cost about $88.81 million to design, engineer and build.
The cost breakdown in the bill exhibits lists these expenses:
• $2 million for design and engineering
• $1 million for land acquisition and site prep
• $85.81 million for construction.
Costs to build a new Medical Examiner’s Office appear to have grown since the city budget was approved six months ago. The 2022-23 CIP documents estimated $48.5 million would be needed for the facility.
The legislation says the additional funding is due to “higher than anticipated construction costs.”
The permit application shows Gresham Smith is the architect. GAI Consultants is the civil engineer.
Council Neighborhoods, Community Service, Public Health and Safety Committee and Finance Committee could debate and vote on the funding April 3 and 4, respectively.
Editor Karen Brune Mathis contributed to this report.