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University of Central Oklahoma opens forensic facility

BY DIANA BALDWIN Modified: December 8, 2009 at 4:28 am •  Published: December 8, 2009
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.