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New morgue breaks ground

Kitsap County Coroner Greg Sandstrom addresses the crowd at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for the new morgue.  - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Kitsap County Coroner Greg Sandstrom addresses the crowd at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for the new morgue.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

After years of making do in structures never intended to be used for the purpose, a ceremonial groundbreaking for Kitsap County’s new morgue took place on Tuesday morning at its site behind Auto Center Way in Bremerton.

“This is significant for the county,” said North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer during the ceremony. “It will provide a needed service to the public during stressful times.”

Morgue service currently uses two Port Orchard facilities, including office space in Givens Community Center and the basement of a nearby condemned house.

Not only are these facilities inadequate to the task, there is also no way for a family member to pay their last respects to the deceased.

Kitsap Coroner Greg Sandstrom, who has held the job for nine years, was credited by South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel as “going well beyond the call of duty” in spearherading the new construction.

In preparation, Sandstrom visited morgue facilities throughout the state and incorporated the best features into plans for the new building.

Sandstrom said the structure will meet the county’s needs for the next 30 years and will be able to accommodate the needs of any projected disaster.

“This is a great building with an efficient design,” Angel said. “It’s long overdue.”

Among its other modern features, the 8,400-square-foot building will have a public space where family members can view the remains and work through the grief process.

The building is projected to cost $2.8 million, and is scheduled to open for business on Aug. 1, 2009.

While a Spokane firm is supervising the project, the majority of the labor will come from local subcontractors.

The new facility is adjacent to the CenCom headquarters. This central location will be convenient for the entire county and could even serve other regions in the future, according to Sandstrom.

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