Hennepin County Medical Examiners office - rendering

A rendering of the new Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office submitted to the city of Minnetonka.

MINNETONKA — The new Hennepin County Medical Examiner building is moving forward as the Minnetonka City Council and Minnetonka Planning Commission recently passed resolutions to start work on the building site.

The new building will have more space and better equipment including rooms dedicated to grieving families. A main draw to the site is its isolated location, Minnetonka City Planner Loren Gordon said at the Sept. 19 Planning Commission meeting. The building will be surrounded by vegetation and fencing to keep unwanted visitors out and is far away from residences.

The City Council heard from the developer on Sept. 16 about changes to the building design as the building has been moved from the east side of the property to the west side of the property at 14300 County Road 62, a site shared with the Hennepin County Home School.

The council voted to construct the building and referred it to the Planning Commission during its Sept. 16 meeting.

“I want to say welcome to Minnetonka to the Hennepin County Medical examiner,” Mayor Brad Wiersum said during the meeting.

The Planning Commission also heard from the developer during its Sept. 19 meeting and then voted to recommend the City Council approve the developer’s conditional use permit and site plan.

The project will go back to the City Council, according to Senior Communications Coordinator Matt Higgins, where it will discuss the conditional use permit and site plan during its Oct. 7 meeting.

The new site will bring several improvements to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office from its current facility including, increasing the number of autopsy tables from seven to 12, a cooler that holds up to 100 bodies and postmortem CT scanning, which is a noninvasive form of identifying the cause of death.

The project was allocated $17.5 million in funding from the state over two legislative sessions.

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.

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