LUBBOCK, Texas – In North Lubbock County, there are over eight acres of vacant county-owned land that’s currently serving as a hot spot for several prairie dogs in town. Since voters in the county passed Proposition A on Tuesday, that space will soon be home to a new medical examiner’s office instead.
“People are passionate about wanting to keep their loved ones at home which is why they came out to vote,” said Terence Kovar, Lubbock County commissioner for Precinct 1. “This isn’t the old medical examiner’s office from four or five years ago. This is the new and improved medical examiner’s office.”
For more than four years now, Lubbock County has been without a certified forensic pathologist, causing bodies that need autopsies to be done in Tarrant County. Kovar said outsourcing autopsies costs upwards of $1 million per year.
“With us sending out our loved ones to a different county and then being put on the back burner and taking an extremely long time to get the death certificates back, that’s very hard on all of the community,” Kovar said. “I don’t want that for myself, and I don’t want that for my neighbor. This is going to speed that process up.”
The $35 million bond is going toward building the 31,440-square-foot facility that’s west of N Holly Street & south of E Kent Street and directly across the street from the Lubbock County Detention Center.
“It’s built for over a population of 500,000, so we are over-building the building now, but that’s for future growth,” Kovar said. “We’re building a state-of-the-art facility to get a state-of-the-art pathologist in Lubbock County, and all that does is help us grow.”
The total project costs about $45 million. Kovar said the bond money takes a few months to kick in, so they’ll get started with $10 million the county has already received in American Rescue Plan Act funding.
“We’re building a hospital for the community,” Kovar said. “It’s just a hospital that we don’t want to go to until we’re a lot older, but that means it’s expensive, and I’m glad the community understands that. This is something we’ve been looking at for two years. We’re ready. We know the colors of the light switches. It’s ready to go.”
Kovar said he expects to break ground at the start of the new year and have the facility up and running in the spring of 2026.