Will County officials try new strategy on construction of future morgue

Officials said construction on the 11,000-square-foot facility is expected to start later this summer

will county morgue, government

Progress continues on the planning for construction of a new county morgue with officials trying a new approach to deal with supply chain issues that have caused delays for so many other projects around the country.

Dave Tkac, the county’s director of facilities and capital programming, told Will County Board members on Tuesday that construction on the roughly 11,000-square-foot facility is on track to begin later this summer.

That’s because the county is already in the process of securing bids for parts of the project from potential contractors, which Tkac said was early. The purpose of the early start is to secure materials like roof insulation and emergency generators before the actual start of construction.

“We have a challenge to get the materials that we need in order to start the project in the summer and then continue on without running into a stoppage due to lack of materials,” Tkac said.

Tkac assured the board members the strategy will allow for the county to start the project without having to pause.

He also noted that Coroner Laurie Summers is attempting to repurpose as much material and equipment as possible from her existing administrative office on Scott Street in Joliet. She had been advocating for a larger morgue because of space limitations at the existing facility on Caton Farm Road in Crest Hill, which also houses two other county departments.

The future morgue is being planned for the property near the Will County Safety Complex off of Laraway and Cherry Hill roads in Joliet Township.

Member Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, suggested the county look into using alternative materials to use on the project when appropriate if supply chain issues persist.

“If one material is not available, then maybe another [could be],” Moustis said.

Tkac said the county has been looking into alternate materials for the building’s roofing system.

Board members also asked what the county was doing to attract more businesses owned by women and people of color to bid on parts of the morgue project. Tkac said the county will step up its outreach efforts, especially for later bid packages which might attract such businesses.

Summers said she hopes for the new morgue will be finished in early 2023.