A House committee's decision this week not to kill the idea means there's still a chance the Oklahoma medical examiner's office may eventually get the new building it so badly needs. Here's hoping that happens.
The state of the current office building — outdated and overcrowded — contributed to the ME's office losing its national accreditation in 2009. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Eric Pfeifer has told lawmakers that reaccreditation won't happen if the agency remains where it is today.
The Legislature two years ago approved moving the agency to a site near the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, but provided no funding for the move. Officials at UCO have come up with an interesting proposal — selling bonds through the state regents' master lease program to construct the building on the campus.
Colleges traditionally use the master lease program to upgrade housing facilities and make other renovations. Financing usually covers seven years. In this case, the $42 million building would be paid for through a 30-year bond issue, which would leave the Legislature on the hook for $2.4 million per year during that time.