The Beaufort County Coroner's Office is getting a new home, and adding a new deputy coroner to its staff.
Coroner Edward Allen said the growth is needed after the busy year his office had in 2012. According to Allen, the growth in the county's population has led to a rise in the county's death rate.
"Unfortunately, with an increase in population, there's also an increase in death," Allen said.
The coroner's office responded to 1,105 deaths last year. In 2009, the coroner's office responded to 926 death cases.
"Things aren't like they used to be," Allen said. "There has been a couple of cases where we had two calls occur at the same time and it might be that we're both dealing with a death at separate ends of the county."
Allen says the extra help and bigger space is needed.
When he drafted his 2013 budget, he knew there was a need for a new deputy coroner, and that's what he budgeted for.
According to Allen, the new deputy coroner's salary will be between $33,000 and $35,000 a year.
The money for the new building is coming from bond, according to documents.
Joy Nelson, spokeswoman for Beaufort County, says $850,000 is set aside to renovate the old family services building on Old Shell Rd.
The 6,335 sq. ft. building is more has more than enough space for the new coroners office, which will also house some of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office departments, and the Beaufort County Coroner's first morgue.
"It's certainly bigger than the 840 sq. ft. trailer we're in now," Allen said.
"We're expecting the groundbreaking to start at the end of April," Nelson said. "It's going to take approximately eight months to complete. We're all so excited about it."
Allen will be hiring a new coroner before the summer, and he hopes to be in the new building by the end of the year.