Construction inflation, supply chain issues drive county project costs 

A least two county projects will be more expensive because of construction inflation and supply chain issues. 

North Central Health Care’s campus renovation project, which started in 2019, had been on track financially. But following the pandemic and the supply chain issues that ensued, the costs of the project have risen significantly, says NCHC Interim Executive Director Mort McBain. McBain presented to the county last month a proposal to fund a $3.15 million shortfall through pandemic relief dollars. 

And, those same issues have caused county leaders to increase estimates on a forensics science center. Projects had initially put the facility at costing $6 million on the low end, but now that cost has increased to at least $7.4 million, and as much as $10 million, depending on the option chosen. 

County leaders have been researching the idea of building a regional morgue, or forensic science center, because right now there are only a couple of places in the state to have autopsies performed. Even many of the hospital systems have stopped performing them. Taking bodies all the way to Madison is time-consuming and inefficient. And, the idea is popular with other counties. Medical Examiner Jessica Blahnick says 19 counties have agreed to partner with the morgue, and there is also interest from Michigan counties. 

Once built, the morgue is expected to be revenue positive — it will earn between $8,000 and $107,000 projects from financial firm Wipfli show. That means it won’t cost the county anything to operate.

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