EDMOND — The second stepping stone in an effort to build a hub for forensic science education and investigations in Edmond is now open for business. Faculty and staff moved into the new University of Central Oklahoma Forensic Science Institute last week. Classes will begin Jan. 11 in the state-of-art, 30,000-square-foot building. The institute is across Second Street from the $30 million high-tech Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Center that opened in May 2008. There is now a push to move the state medical examiner’s office from Oklahoma City to Edmond. UCO President Roger Webb said, "The goal was to have the top forensic science teaching and training. I think this is it.” Dwight E. Adams, director of the institute, said, "This is a special place. It is far better than I anticipated.” Adams, former director of the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Va., returned to the Edmond campus 3½ years ago with a mission to create the institute where students are educated and professionals continue their training. Adams is a UCO graduate. The institute has been in operation in borrowed space in Evans Hall. This semester, more than 200 undergraduate students are enrolled in the institute with another 35 students in the graduate program. "We are teaching more students more hours this year by 33 percent,” Adams said. "We expect to increase another 33 percent next year.” The Edmond institute is the only place where students are required to get two degrees. They must earn a forensic science degree and one in another specialty such as chemistry, accounting or biology. "The two degrees allow them to do much more than forensic science,” Adams said. "They are diversified rather than being narrow focused.” They will be learning from some of the top professionals in the business, he said. The institute will have nine faculty members and three staff positions. "The key to the institute is that the faculty has over 200 years of career forensic science and law enforcement experience,” Adams said. Making up the faculty are Adams, Tom Jourdan, institute assistant director and former director of the FBI explosive unit; Wayne Lord, former head of the OSBI behavioral unit; Mark McCoy, former supervisor of the OSBI computer crime unit; John Mabry, former FBI chief legal counsel; Robert Bost, a former Texas and Ohio forensic toxicologist for medical examiners; David Minden, a former toxicologist for the U.S. Navy and Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; and Dion Christophe, former Oklahoma City Police Department firearm and ballistics expert. One faculty position has not been filled. The $12 million institute has a 165-seat auditorium, four classrooms, conference room, faculty offices and multipurpose evidence recovery bay. There also is room to grow with more classrooms and faculty space. Work began on the design in July 2006, but actual construction didn’t start until Oct. 7. As part of the grant, up to eight law enforcement officers and a supervisor will be assigned to investigate real cyber crimes from across the state. So far, OSBI and Oklahoma City police have agreed to work on the task force. Adams said invitations are out to other law enforcement agencies to join the task force.