A brand new Forensics Crime Scene Facility breaking ground next month at Trent University will set new academic and environmental standards all at once, as a first-of-its-kind professional forensics training building constructed on a Canadian university campus—and with a goal to be Canada’s first zero-carbon building certified by the International Living Future Institute.
With the new building, the University will combine its renowned forensics leadership with its reputation as one of Canada’s top environmental teaching and research universities.
“The new Forensics Crime Scene Facility will be sector-leading academically and nation-leading environmentally,” says Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice chancellor of Trent University. “This teaching-focused, environmentally-restorative building is being designed by an alumnus of Trent, a story that reflects our institution’s core values and the long-term impact of a Trent education. We are very proud that this new facility will enhance the calibre of learning for our Forensics students while giving back to the environment.”
The new 4,100 square-foot building is a forward-thinking facility that will pioneer approaches to training students, and current practitioners, in forensic science methodology. Building upon the learnings from Trent’s 10-year-old Crime Scene House, the new facility will unite spaces for staging crime scenes, facilities for analyzing evidence and exhibits, as well as a classroom for reviewing and evaluating student performance.
Sector-Leading Academic Highlights:
- Large modular space: controlled-environment and moveable walls to stage up to eight crime scenes
- Cameras: installed in crime scene spaces to record students’ analysis and allow instructor feedback on strengths and areas for improvement
- An adjacent, on-site lab space: modern equipment to process and analyze evidence and minimize cross-contamination in transport
- Garage lab: for vehicle analysis as the majority of crimes have a vehicle component
- Outdoor staging space: to train in evidence collection from different substrates (e.g. mud, gravel, sand)
- Mentorship: Opportunities for students to interact with professional practitioners
“Forensics is an applied science that draws on principles from many different disciplines, so we know how important hands-on crime scene investigations are for our students,” says Dr. Christopher Kyle, professor of Forensic Science at Trent. “This facility will enhance the learning experiences of our students, enabling them to develop and refine their technical skills and strengthen their critical thinking skills to become not only experts, but leaders in this field.”
In addition to the educational benefits this building will bring to Trent students, the Forensics Crime Scene Facility aims to be the first Zero-Carbon certification in Canada, certified by the International Living Future Institute. It will be made of materials with carbon-storing properties and powered primarily by renewable energy. The new building will be located on the core campus beside Otonabee College just down the hill from East Bank Drive.
Leading Environmental and Sustainability Features:
- Aiming to be First Zero-Carbon certification in Canada by the International Living Future Institute
- Solar-powered roof panels to heat, cool and power the facility to achieve Net Zero energy
- Canadian carbon-storing materials:
- Hemp blocks from Albertan company Just Biofibre used to make the exterior structure
- Hemp batt insulation made in Quebec by Nature Fibers to be used for internal structure of the building
- Cellulose roof insulation made here in Ontario
- Charred wood siding from locally harvested wood
- Glavel under-floor insulation
Trent is working with a handful of partners on the project who will pioneer sustainable building practices in Canada. Trent is working with:
- Endeavour Centre: Chris Magwood ’85 is a director at the Endeavour Centre, and a two-time Trent alumnus who recently completed his Master of Sustainability Studies at Trent where his research revealed the carbon footprint of common construction practices and materials and identified sustainable alternatives.
- Christopher Z. Tworkowski, Architect
- Zon Engineering Inc., Mechanical, Solar, Net Zero
- Building Alternatives Inc., Structural
- Berthelot Engineering Ltd., Electrical
“It’s really exciting that a large institution like Trent University not only sees the value in constructing a building with the highest environmental standards, but is willing to try something that has never been done before in Canada,” says Chris Magwood, Trent alumnus and director at the Endeavor Centre. “Trent’s facility will be the first to use hemp blocks and Glavel in Ontario and will be the first to use hemp batts in a non-residential setting.”
The project was made possible by the legacy gift from former Board of Governors chair, the late Jalynn Bennett. In 2018, the Jalynn H. Bennett Foundation donated $1.13 million to Trent, one of the largest legacy gifts in the University’s history. The new Forensics Crime Scene Facility is part of the Jalynn H. Bennett Trent Lands Enhancement Project, which funds projects that will enhance Trent’s natural setting, advance academic excellence, increase engagement with the local and First Nations communities, and enrich the student experience.