From fibers to fingerprints, forensic students and law enforcement are benefiting from their showpiece new home.
The University of Central Oklahoma is home to one of the top forensic science programs in the country, meaning hundreds of CSI hopefuls flock to the campus each year. Law enforcement investigators from across the United States and abroad regularly visit the campus to attend forensics-related seminars and workshops. This combined growing demand created an urgent need for a new, modern facility — one that could provide the latest technology and teaching spaces critical to the success of these specialized students.
Because the chosen Forensic Science Institute site was located at the entrance to the university, there was additional pressure to create an attractive structure that matched the architectural theme of the broader campus.
A number of special features make the single-story building truly unique. A large multi-tiered lecture hall accommodates 170 people and contains cutting-edge audiovisual equipment, allowing for extremely high-quality interactive classes on-site and livestreamed. A custom designed computer room with a raised floor is provided for the teaching of cyber forensics.
Another adaptable large theater area, complete with bleacher seating, is used to recreate a variety of crime scenes for student education. An iconic central rotunda, framed by majestic white pillars and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, is topped with a cupola and connects both wings of the building. This striking area serves multiple functions as a lobby, student gathering spot and a place for networking, banquets and other special events.
An adjoining covered exterior courtyard provides an additional student gathering place and break area. Rounding out the rest of the building are classrooms, administrative and faculty offices, as well as three 750 SF break-out seminar rooms.
Since its completion, enrollment in the forensic program has nearly quadrupled and the new building is a significant contributor to that dramatic increase. To accommodate growth, the Forensic Science Institute was designed for future expansions to include an adjacent mirror-image, multi-story building. With the addition of the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office on campus, numerous opportunities and synergies will be created with the institute’s teaching, law enforcement and investigative skills, resulting in a tremendously unique City of Edmond and UCO forensics and investigative hub.