Observatory Forensic Pathology Institute nears completion
The R281 million Observatory Forensic Pathology institute which will replace the Forensic Pathology services laboratory in salt River is expected to be complete during 2020.
This larger, purpose-built modern forensic pathology facility is being built at the entrance to Groote Schuur Hospital by the Department of Transport and Public Works.
Once completed, the institute will provide level 4 forensic services aimed at extracting, analysing and preserving the integrity of evidence for use by the criminal justice system. This three-storey facility will enable better integration of the work of provincial Forensic Pathology services and the National Health laboratory service, coupled with facilities to support university of Cape Town (UCT) academic training in the field.
The end result will be an efficient and functional building for the Western Cape Department of Health with low life-cycle building costs. The facility will include 26 autopsy tables – four dissection suites with six tables each, as well as two teaching and training dissection suites.
There will be 360 refrigerated body spaces: 180 admission fridges, and 180 dispatch fridges. in addition, the building will be able to accommodate 100 visitors to the bereavement centre as well as ten waiting undertakers per day.
The new facility will facilitate the training of trainee specialists at the UCT Medical school and will accommodate 20 students at a time.
The design incorporates natural light through glazed autopsy rooms and a courtyard that allows light deep into the working areas. The public areas have been designed to create a tranquil environment focused around outdoor green spaces.
The project makes use of labour-intensive methods that provide a number of short-term work opportunities and skills training for local people. To date, R603 800 has been spent on targeted enterprises, R121 400 on targeted suppliers, and R100 000 on targeted local labour.