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Education

BGSU eyes 2 homes for its forensics program

University needs state’s OK to buy the properties, 2 others

  • Center-for-the-Future-of-Forensic-Science-at-Bowling-Green-State-University

    The Center for the Future of Forensic Science at Bowling Green State University. The school is attempting to purchase off-campus properties to use as crime-scene simulation houses.

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COLUMBUS — Bowling Green State University is asking for state approval to buy four properties near campus for $631,000.

Two student rental properties on Troup Avenue covering roughly a quarter of an acre would be purchased for $280,000. They would be renovated into crime-scene simulation houses as part of the school’s forensics study program tied to the Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensics Science that opened nearly two years ago.

“The structures will be used to simulate crime scenes to provide a realistic environment for forensic students who perform investigations while students,” said Steve Krakoff, BGSU vice president for capital planning and campus operations.

“It’s in a neighborhood,” he said. “They’re real houses and garages. They will be upgraded to make them more suitable for us. … They’ll look nice. We’ll relandscape them to enhance the neighborhood, but you’ll see yellow crime tape there from time to time.”

Two more buildings on East Wooster Street, totaling just over a third of an acre, would be purchased for $351,000. Near the entrance to the academic core of the school, they would be demolished as part of the university and city’s broader plans to redevelop the East Wooster Street corridor from downtown Bowling Green to I-75.

Those plans are still in their preliminary stages, so the new uses for the sites have not been identified, Mr. Krakoff said. The school will likely use these buildings first for training under its firefighter school near the end of the school year in May, with final demolition occurring after that.

The Ohio Controlling Board, a budgetary panel consisting of six state lawmakers and one member of Gov. John Kasich’s administration, will consider the requests Monday. Its approval is required before the university can spend the money from its operating funds. The school says the purchases will not affect student fees.

On Nov. 10, 2014, Attorney General Mike DeWine opened the new 30,000-square-foot Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation lab. The brick, stone, and glass building assists in state DNA, ballistics, and other criminal evidence testing. The total cost was $14 million, including furniture and equipment.

The university, in turn, offers related undergraduate and master’s forensics degrees, research, and professional training. The center’s director, Jon Sprague, is a university employee whose salary is funded through a grant from the attorney general’s office.

“We’re already using some structures the university owns for crime scenes, but the houses will be much better for that,” Mr. Krakoff said. “We’ll have faculty in an upstairs room watching students as they go through their investigations to make sure technique is followed.”

The student rental properties at 141 and 145 Troup Ave. that would become the forensic simulation houses are now owned by G REM Family Investors, LLC. The properties at 904 and 908 E. Wooster St. were previously purchased by the Bowling Green State University Foundation LLC with this transaction in mind.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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