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Benton County's coroner relocates to permanent site


New building open house set for May 1


By Mike Jones
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

BENTONVILLE -- The Benton County coroner's office finally has a home of its own after operating in a series of odd spaces since the mid-1990s.

The new, 4,400-square-foot building at 1275 Melissa Drive also will house the volunteer search-and-rescue team. The coroner's office moved in last month, but work on the building continues. The coroner's office is in the front of the building, and search and rescue is in the back.

Don Peters Construction built the metal structure and completed the coroner's part. County crews will finish the inside of the search-and-rescue half. Cement for the parking lot was poured Friday, said Bryan Beeson, county facilities administrator. An open house is set for 6-8 p.m. May 1.

The building cost $534,000, comptroller Brenda Guenther said. The county also added security and other required improvements to the site, including installing fiber-optic cable to the building and fencing to the perimeter of the property. All money came from the county's capital projects fund.

Coroner Daniel Oxford is happy to finally have a permanent home. He has been with the office since 1995 and was elected coroner in 2008. He remembers the office moving from building to building during his tenure.

The office operated out of an old bridal shop when Oxford started, then from the top floor of a funeral home in about 2003 or 2004, at a strip mall starting in 2005 and finally in 2011 or 2012 in what was the old juvenile jail downtown, Oxford said.

"My back can't take too many more moves," he said. "I've moved this office more than I have moved my personal stuff."

Deputy Coroner Tina Ward has been with the office since 1999. She likes the location because it is private and quiet. The building is adjacent to the Juvenile Justice Center. Outdoor Cap and Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy also are on Melissa Drive. READ MORE.

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