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A tour of the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office highlights need for larger space

Not only does the office serve all of Nueces County, but over a dozen other counties in the surrounding area.

NUECES COUNTY, Texas — It's a topic that is expected to come up during tomorrow's Commissioner's Court meeting. The problem though is how to pay for it.

"It is very small and for me there is no doubt when this was built we didn't prepare for the future," County Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn told 3News.

The building is located off Morgan Avenue next to the old Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital. The facility was built back in 1995 and structurally it's still good.

County commissioners Carolyn Vaughn and Brent Chesney got a first hand account of the tight work environment inside for the surprisingly large staff it takes to operate the office. The two took a tour of administration to the room where autopsies are performed.

Dr. Adel Shaker is the chief medical examiner.  He said not only does the office serve all of Nueces County, but over a dozen other counties in the surrounding area.

"Sometimes we are handling more than 10 cases especially on a Monday morning," said Dr. Shaker.

As the population in the county continues to grow and with the current pandemic, space is something they need more of.

"The risk factor for the employees, I'm really concerned about," said Commissioner Brent Chesney. "They are in a tight setting."

However in order to build a new facility, it is something that could cost the county an estimated $25-million dollars.

"The task will be how do we pay for it," said Vaughn.

Commissioner Brent Chesney said he wants to make sure the county looks at all financial options.

"Could there be an investor out there for example, who wants to build a building and get a return on their investment so that we don't have to saddle that or tax payers," Chesney said.

By the way, the office is receiving additional help as they see more cases. A new Assistant Medical Examiner has been hired on as of this week.