Officials plan for new morgue to open by end of year

BILLINGS (AP) — Officials are planning for a new morgue that’s expected to save an eastern Montana county $50,000 a year to be operational by the end of 2018.

The state and Yellowstone County are putting in nearly $1 million to fund a new morgue that has additional space to perform autopsies and to store bodies.

Officials say the current morgue that operates out of a Billings hospital is in a confined space, and it only has one work station where autopsies are conducted.

The state is planning to sign a 20-year lease on a new facility. Officials are also hoping the new space will be able to house the Billings crime lab.

Officials opened up the request for proposals last month, and it closes in April.