Gannon University’s new Forensic Investigation Center is in full motion with students flowing in and out for classes. An open house for law enforcement personnel will be held from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Gannon’s FIC is located at 246 W. Sixth St., and opened its doors this past summer. It is a cutting edge facility for students studying in the newly revised criminal justice program.

The house was originally going to be torn down by Gannon to provide more green space on campus. However, the Erie Country Historical Society asked that the building be left standing so some of the West Sixth Street history could be maintained. Gannon needed to find a use for the building and the creation of a forensic center was petitioned.

The renovated house now includes a mock crime scene with a kitchen, living room and bathroom filled with planted evidence and samples for students to collect. The house also contains a laboratory for conducting toxicology reports, fingerprint analysis or ballistics comparisons. This is the only center of its kind in the area.

Along with many other exciting features, the FIC is graced by the presence of Jerry Clark and David Martine, professors within the criminal justice program at Gannon. Clark has decades of experience including time spent as a special agent for the FBI, CIA and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Martine, also a former special agent for the FBI and CIA, has had extensive field experience over the years. With the impressive credentials behind these two professors, Gannon students are learning from incredible experience and wisdom.

Martine said he thinks that all of the faculty and students within the criminal justice department will clearly benefit. He said even the programs not directly involved with the criminal justice programs are encouraged to engage, such as biology, computer science, chemistry and even theater.

Biology majors will gain a lot of experience with genetic evidence, and the chemistry students will benefit from the paint analysis, he said. Martine also said he believes the computer science program will enjoy the digital science studies and the theater students will learn and have fun with acting out crime scene scenarios.

“The range of students this new facility will benefit is very broad,” Martine said.

To widen the scope of benefits even further, Gannon’s FIC is looking to partner with local, state and federal law enforcement.

In order to foster these partnerships, law enforcement professionals will have the opportunity to meet Clark, Martine and the rest of the faculty when touring the facility at the open house for law enforcement personnel Thursday.

The FIC is usually locked to the public, but if students are interested in seeing the new building, any professor can schedule one of their lectures in the FIC. Designated tours and functions will also take place throughout the school year.

This article by Jessica Echement originally appeared in The Gannon Knight on Oct. 8, 2014.