Hennepin County Medical Examiner Facility

Minnetonka, Minnesota

LEO A DALY’s design for the Hennepin County Medical Examiner (HCME) Facility supports an expanded service model for the county to deliver regional death investigation and medico-legal autopsy services. The Medical Examiner’s office is a regional Center-of-Excellence serving Hennepin, Dakota and Scott Counties and other referral-based counties encompassing over 50% of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The facility encompasses eleven autopsy and two decomp autopsy stations, storage coolers and freezers for more than 130 decedents, specialized examination and analysis areas, tissue recovery, investigations and spaces for advanced observation and training of the nation’s finest. The design also includes spaces for secured evidence storage, mass casualty response, sally port and secured parking and other building functions.

The design performance requirements focus on safety, security, efficiency, flexibility and NAME accreditation, with the goal of being one of the nation’s leading, most advanced medical examiner facilities and attracting the nation’s top talent in forensic death investigations. The facility integrates training and education spaces, including training autopsy stations with 180-degree visual table observation and 96” vertical monitors for photographic, Lodox and investigative digital imagery. The facility will enable in-depth educational opportunities of traveling fellows and doctorate students within the industry and serve as a feeder for recruitment.

The nexus of the design vision is to create a facility that supports the forensic death investigation operations and supports the mental, emotional and social health of the staff and doctors that deal with the often-challenging nature of their business. The facility is nestled into a suburban woodland capturing views from staff offices, training and break areas into natural forests, prairies and wetlands. Designers selected natural materials and lighting strategies for non-morgue operations spaces to reduce stress levels and to encourage personal reflection, when needed, as well as social interaction between staff.

Client 

Hennepin County

At a glance

64,000 SF

Features

State-of-the-art medical examiner’s facility

Training and education spaces

Services

Architecture

Interior design

Structural, mechanical, electrical and fire protection engineering