Nothern Illinois University Unsure What Will Become of Hall Where Students Died
Two months ago Cole Hall was the site of a mass killing; today it sits empty.
Northern Illinois University officials are deciding what should be done with the building where five students were killed and 18 were wounded on Valentines Day of this year. Originally, University President John Peters wanted to demalish the building and build a memorial at the site. Some students agree with Peters, saying that it is unfair for them to have to remember the killing spree daily.
22-year-old University student Kristen Highland is one of those students. "Even if they did renovate it, and the classroom was different, I couldn't sit there," she said. "It wouldn't be fair to me to have to go into that building again."
Some have argued that the destruction of the building is like burying the past and the memory of those who died. They say they want to honor the deceased students by using the building for classrooms or other purposes.
"I think it's perpetuating the problem to tear it down," said 23-year-old Amanda Banks, a math education major at the University. "I think it's a waste of resources."
Virgina Tech, were a disturbed student killed 32 of his peers a year ago, turned the building where the murders happened into a peace center. Columbine High School tore down the library in which the shooting took place and rebuilt it. Similarly, the Amish School house in Pennsylvania where a man killed five young girls was also torn down.
The decision for school officials is no doubt difficult, and students have sent over 800 e-mails to school officials when asked for their opinion on what should be done with Cole Hall. More than 1,300 signatures on an online petition ask the school to allow students more input in the decision.
For now, Peters has chosen to back away from demolishing the building, but made clear Thursday that he does not want the building to be used for classrooms again.