Project Announcements

Project Spotlight: Hennepin County Medical Examiner

Fast Facts

Name: Hennepin County Medical Examiner Facility
Address: 14250 County Road 62, Minnetonka, MN
Project Size: 64,000 SF
Owner: Hennepin County
Contractor: Knutson Construction
Architect: Leo A. Daly
Engineer: Leo A. Daly
Project Scope: New build – two connected wings including autopsy bays, body freezers, coolers, office space, conference room, mechanical penthouse, loading docks, new access road, and retaining walls; Demolition – four existing on-site structures.



Dr. Andrew Baker, Hennepin County Medical Examiner, is internationally renowned as one of the most distinguished researchers in the medical examiner field. He and his team needed a new facility that would provide them a unique laboratory facility as well as a setting for professional ME development and training. Leo A. Daly, architect, and Knutson Construction, general contractor, rose to the challenge.

Hennepin County’s new facility is a 64,000 SF building that boasts a combination of office area, body processing and autopsy space, and a sally port. Careful consideration went into all aspects of the project to ensure its complete functionality after completion, as it was crucial to Hennepin County staff to build a state-of-the-art facility best suited to their needs. To begin, Baker and HC department administrator Shawn Wilson toured morgues around the country to garner the best ideas for end-design, as well as seek out negative feedback to create a list of things to avoid during the design process. With that information, as well as the feedback from several on-site staff members, Leo A. Daly and Knutson worked to design and build an innovative, state-of-the-art building that sets the bar for medical examiner facilities throughout the country.

The facility is designed to be ergonomically practical, with an overhead assembly crane that lifts bodies in need of examination into sliding facility gurneys seamlessly and gently. Skylights litter the autopsy suites, allowing daylight to seep in over the 12 autopsy spaces, and adjustable tables ensure users are comfortable while still having an ideal viewpoint of examination material.

Outside, nature encompasses the building. Surrounded by wetlands and green space, the medical examiner facility nestles into the landscape so inconspicuously numerous wildlife find themselves sharing the staff’s footprint.

As would be expected with a facility as beautiful and practical as this one, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner project has won numerous awards, including recognition as a 2023 Minnesota Construction Association Award of Excellence and a 2022 Finance & Commerce Top Project.

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