Students briefly paused Tuesday, Aug. 24, as they looked for Frankie West’s Introductory Topics in Forensic Science class in Apodaca 207.
It was understandable, as they were part of the first group of Western Carolina University students to enter the new classroom located on the ground floor of the new $110.5 million Apodaca Science Building, just completed earlier this month.
“I definitely love this classroom and the building because its feels modern,” said Kennedi Hicks, a junior from Charlotte. “It’s more open than the old Natural Science Building with lots of windows that allow natural light.”
The forensics science major is one of hundreds of students who can now learn the latest techniques and approaches that can be applied to real-world research. The state-of-the art structure, which is part of the Connect NC bond initiative for education improvements, replaces WCU’s 1970s-era Natural Science Building. It is also the largest capital project that is part of the voter-approved Connect NC bond.
“I am even more excited because I have two other classes in this building with one of them inside the new labs,” Hicks said.
While WCU sophomore Maggie Camradella agreed, she had a slightly different perspective.
“I took Chemistry 139 in the old science building and I don’t think it was that bad,” she said. “It was nice because I got to be a part of the last group who took classes in that old building and now, we are transitioning to a new building that is more open. I do think the new building will provide us better learning opportunities in this new environment.”
Frankie West, an assistant professor and Forensic Science Program Director, said for her having the additional whiteboards and screens will help to engage her students.
“It’s so nice to have a beautiful building with all of the latest classroom technology,” West said. “I am looking forward to using this room as I use the whiteboards a lot when teaching forensic science classes.”
As Tuesday’s class ended, two international exchange students said they decided to come to the United States because of the high reputation of WCU’s forensic science program. They agreed that taking classes in the new building was a plus.
“I am from Austria and I wanted to come here because they do not offer these classes in my country,” said Madlene Wurder. “The mountains here remind me of home and I am so excited to take forensics courses in this new building that looks so clean and new.”