The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the issuance of almost $40 million in bonds for the construction of a new headquarters for the state medical examiner's office.
The new building will be at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. The university plans to lease the facility to the state.
The medical examiner's office lost its national accreditation in 2009, in part because its main headquarters in Oklahoma City is a small, outdated facility. In May 2012, bodies sent to the Oklahoma City office had to be kept in refrigerated trucks until a 42-year-old cooler could be repaired.
In January, the state Council of Bond Oversight approved $116 million in bonds for the state Regents for Higher Education Master Lease Program.
Most of the money was intended for more traditional campus projects such as a science and agriculture building at Murray State College in Tishomingo, residence halls at UCO and a parking garage at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
The bonds have not been issued yet because of complaints about the medical examiner's building project. Critics called it a misuse of the higher education funding program. A state senator complained it would “open Pandora's box to unlimited abuses.”
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Need to build a new state prison or want to build a new state-owned museum? Well, then find a college campus with some extra land and build the facility through the Master Lease Program.”
Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid,