As part of our ongoing partnership with Will County, Wight & Company was engaged to design a new Coroner’s facility.  The first owner/architect workshop resulted in ambitious goals for the project, centered around employee well-being, operational efficiency, and long-term viability. There had been a major need for this new facility for over a decade, so the team placed a premium on meticulous planning to ensure the result would service the community for years to come.

The site was strategically located on a vacant parcel of land flanked between the Will County’s Sheriff’s Office, the Division of Transportation, and the Emergency Management Agency just half a mile to the South. Proximity to these County owned buildings offered the opportunity to tap off an existing water service line, and tie into existing stormwater detention infrastructure which greatly reduce site work cost.

The 11,460 sf building was intelligently divided into three key areas: Office, Autopsy Suite, and Sally Port. These spaces were thoughtfully arranged to meet staff needs and site constraints, laying the foundation for achieving the workshop-defined objectives. Energy efficiency was a top priority. The team leveraged Cove Tool, a sustainable building design and energy modeling software, to optimize natural light utilization. Careful considerations of window placement and high-performance glass coatings enabled a balance between daylight and glare control.

Material selection also played a pivotal role in sustainability. Durable brick finishes protected continuous foil-faced wall insulation, ensuring air barrier integrity and thermal performance. The interior spaces, especially the walk-in freezer/cooler enclosure, adhered to stringent 2018 International Energy Conservation Code parameters, including thermal resistance specifications. 

Mechanical and electrical systems were engineered to exceed energy code minimums, incorporating occupancy and daylight sensors to enhance energy conservation. The Autopsy suite featured an automated HVAC system, while Demand Control Ventilation helped minimize energy usage in inactive spaces.

Employee health and well-being were equally prioritized. Abundant natural daylighting, a soothing color palette, and communal spaces for breaks and relaxation were integrated to create a nurturing work environment. A residential-style break area with an outdoor patio allowed staff to unwind and bond.

The result is a state-of-the-art facility that not only meets administrative and forensic demands but also fosters employee satisfaction and long-term sustainability. It's a home for the Will County Coroner's staff to excel in their tasks and find comfort when needed.

Photo Credit: Connor Steinkamp

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Architecture, MEP and Structural Engineering, Sustainability

Project Completion