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Radford University's new building gives students more hands on training

Courtesy: Radford University
Courtesy: Radford University (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

RADFORD (WSLS 10) -  Radford University students are using a building for the first time this semester.  The new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences is still a work in progress, but it gives everyone more space and access to new technology.

Hands on learning giving students like Patrice Malone, who wants to be a crime analyst for the FBI, a taste of what real world crime labs do every day.

"I want to be able to work the crime scene, do the behind the scenes in the lab and test the evidence," said Patrice Malone, Radford University Junior.

"I look around every day and I say I can't believe we're actually in this building," said Dr. Stephen Owen oversees the Radford University Criminal Justice Department and says the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building is a big upgrade after working in a former apartment building.

"We were working out of what used to be kitchens, bedrooms and living room. We had no classroom space, we had no lab space. This building gives us everything that we wish for that we've never had," said Dr. Owen. "We had to tell students come into this room and pretend this is a court room, pretend this is a forensic lab, pretend this is an emergency operation center."

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The watch center can be used by communications, political science and criminal justice. Once it's up and running they will be able to put news feeds, social media and maps on the screen and watch it from stations. It's helpful in real life situations like the recent Louisiana flooding where emergency crews could monitor who needed help the most and get resources there.

"For many of our students they will be able to leave Radford having actually worked in the kinds of professional environments that they will be going into for their careers," said Dr. Owen.

Now they actually have a courtroom that will eventually be used in real cases. Students can study and compare samples of blood and fibers, use lights to trace where bullets were fired and magnify evidence samples.

"Being able to work hands-on with the stuff actually gives me a feel for it instead of just reading it in a book," said Malone.

Giving them a taste of what to expect after graduation.

"You get a lot of experience in working with your hands and working with the stuff you're going to work with once you get out of college," said Nickolas Brown, a Radford University junior.

The building also includes a TV studio.