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New Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences Opens

Officials cut the ribbon on the new $75 million Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS) on the Texas Medical Center campus in March 2017. The nine-story building’s grand opening is a milestone that will reinforce and expedite the collaborative work of the county’s medical examiner’s office and the crime lab.

TECO’s chilled water and steam provide the new 210,000-sq-ft tower on Old Spanish Trail with air conditioning and space heating, plus are tapped for special uses: We super-cool the morgue and evidence storage areas and furnishes steam for specialized equipment used to accomplish the mission of HCIFS.

For health and safety purposes, HCIFS uses sophisticated energy-efficient ventilation systems that separate airflow from the morgue and the toxicology labs from the rest of the building. Security protocol is also vitally important, with special gates and access codes needed both outside and inside the facility to safeguard evidence and test results.

“Reliability is the main reason we chose TECO to provide the new HCIFS building with chilled water and steam,” says Shannon Watson, PE, director, Right of Way Division, Harris County Engineering Department. “TECO’s business is energy and ours is not, so it ensures that we get the services we need exactly when we need them. Also, we evaluated life-cycle costs, and TECO looks to be the most economical choice. That’s critical, especially when you’re a government entity. Plus, we like the fact that we didn’t have to install and run our own chillers and boilers, so we’re reducing administrative responsibility and saving space that can be put to better use related to our mission.”

Congratulations to Dr. Luis Sanchez, chief medical examiner and HCIFS executive director, and his colleagues on their extraordinary new facility. Learn more.

 
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