New forensics laboratory on campus nearly complete

Lisa Herdman

A state-of-the-art forensic laboratory is being constructed on Washburn University’s campus by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that will provide a 100,000 square foot facility to students and faculty.

This new location will bring new learning capabilities to students studying criminal justice and chemical science, as well as adding on new programs involving biology and, computer and anthropological forensics.

“KBI and other law enforcement agencies have a great need for forensic scientists and they’re looking forward to having a program right here,” said Patrick Early, Washburn University Relations Director.

Early said that they are expecting the program to be highly demanded by criminal justice and forensics students at Washburn.

The building is projected to be completed in October. The announcement provided by Washburn says the three-story building will currently replace the existing location of the KBI building located in a former Topeka school.

The Washburn website announced that the new Forensic Science Center will house the state crime lab and will give space to things like biology, DNA, toxicology, chemistry, firearm/tool mark, latent prints, trace evidence and digital forensics, as well as vehicle processing and evidence storage.

When the facility is completed about 70 scientists and technicians will be provided work. The KBI will be able to train and hire scientists in the building.

Early said that Washburn is hoping to run specialized training sessions for law enforcement agencies.

“In addition, the university envisions running specialized training sessions for law enforcement agencies on the weekends in our space in the building,” Early said, “Continuing education is an increasingly important part of effective law enforcement and this is one specialized area that is in demand.”

Locating the KBI state crime lab on Washburn’s campus will benefit the criminal justice and forensic chemical science degree programs already offered at Washburn. Additionally, new programs in the areas of biological, computer/digital and anthropological forensics will be offered.

“We look forward to the partnerships that have been formed with the KBI and the positive impact they will have on faculty, students, and community,” Washburn stated on their website.

A ‘Topping Off’ Ceremony is planned for September 24, signifying the final exterior steel beam in place.