What coroner's move means for South Placer

By: Brody Fernandez, Gold Country Media
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The Placer County’s Coroners Office will move from Auburn to Roseville within a few years. The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a $24-million contract in December to design and build a new facility in Roseville.

The contract is with Roebbelen Contracting of El Dorado Hills, which topped two other candidates making proposals.

The other two — C/S Broward/Arrington Watkins and ProWest/HED — won’t walk away empty- handed. The county will pay each of them $75,000 in the form of a stipend for work leading up to their losing proposals.

All three were selected in August to compete for the contract to design and build the new coroner facility at the South Placer Bill Santucci Justice Facility in Roseville.

A county-selected committee reviewed and scored the submissions based on a “best value” criteria, leading to selection of Roebbelen Contracting as the top-ranked firm, Deputy Public Works and Facilities Director Steve Newsom told the supervisors.

Gold Country Media asked Placer County Sheriff Spokesman Lt. Andrew Scott for more reasons on why the move was made.

“First of all, the old morgue in Auburn is a World War II building converted from a butcher shop to morgue facility,” Scott said. “It does not have air conditioning, which makes working conditions much more difficult for the pathologists.”

The current facility is not certified, according to Scott.

“This building is not a National Association Medical Examiners (NAME) certified facility,” Scott said.

“There is limited cold storage space for decedents and will not be able to be used in a mass casualty event, limited storage space for autopsy records, histology slides, biological evidence and office space,’ Scott said.

Communication between agencies also played a factor in moving the coroner's office to Roseville.

Currently, the Coroner’s Office and the morgue are in two different locations, which breaks down communication between on-site pathologists and investigators,” Scott said. “It’s also very crowded in the exam area for outside agencies to attend autopsies of criminal nature.”

According to Scott, the grand jury has recommended a new morgue facility for several years.  

“This move will definitely improve our ability to to provide coroner services and investigations,” Scott said. “It will bring a positive impact throughout the county, especially our South Placer agencies.”


Gus Thomson contributed to this article.