CINCINNATI -- Groundbreaking on Hamilton County's new crime lab is slated for late this year or early next year after the building's design was unanimously approved by Blue Ash officials.
The new crime lab will cost an estimated $53 million to build, according to a news release from the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners. The approved location is 4455 Carver Woods Drive in Blue Ash, close to Summit Park and Cincinnati Eye Institute. The location was strategically chosen for "better access for law enforcement" and proximity to Interstate 71.
The building's design and location was approved at Thursday's Blue Ash City Council meeting.
The new crime lab will replace the nearly 45-year-old current crime lab in Corryville. The building is overcrowded, unsafe and has electrical problems, according to coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco.
Sammarco has been lobbying for new lab quarters for several years. The current building has so little space, she said, that technicians often have to process one piece of evidence at a time.
In July, Sammarco said the crime lab would stop processing rape kits due to such significant backlog. Later that month, Sammarco said the crime lab had more than 500 pieces of DNA awaiting testing.
The new 91,000-square foot building will have three stories, a toxicology lab, drug analysis lab, ballistics lab, DNA lab, evidence storage areas, an autopsy "suite" and private family meeting space.
The county is working with Summit View Land, LLC, on the project. The lab was designed by KZF Design and SmithGroupJJP, according to a news release from the county commissioners.