Johnson County Medical Examiner Facility
As a Kansas county brings its medical examiner functions in house, a new facility provides the customized spaces and technology it needs to serve the public.
Architecture, Forensic, Lab Planning, MEP Engineering, Programming, Science & Technology
When Johnson County transitioned from an elected coroner to an appointed medical examiner, it also switched from using outside contractors performing medicolegal autopsy services to the county’s own team of forensic professionals. As a result, county officials also began planning for a new public facility specifically designed to house a full range of functions under the medical examiner umbrella.
SmithGroup worked with the County on program development and operations, then provided design leadership and planning for the new facility completed in 2020.
It is one of the few ME facilities in the country to have high-speed full-body x-ray technology and a CT scanner for high-resolution imagery.
Forensic planning and programming ensure highly efficient operations, safety and privacy. Medical examiner functions are segregated from public and support spaces, maintaining ongoing operations while sensitive conversations occur. Decedent receiving is located behind secure perimeter fencing and through a sally port, preventing visibility from the public but leading efficiently to the morgue and autopsy area. Adjacent to the autopsy stations, elevated, glass-walled observation areas allow law enforcement officials to witness autopsies while isolated from biological hazards. An in-house toxicology lab allows for cost-effective and efficient bloodwork analysis.
The public face of the building is bright and modern, with a light-filled, large volume lobby that leads to conferencing space and multi-purpose room. Staff has a secure entrance adjacent to their dedicated parking area and covered patio separate from visitor spaces.
Located on the County’s government campus, the facility is designed to integrate with existing county buildings. It is oriented to take advantage of views and daylight, as well as be sensitive to a nearby residential area. The Johnson County Medical Examiner Facility will support the community in which it serves for decades to come.