NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials in Newtown, Conn., have yet to reach the point of discussing the long-term future of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults on Friday.
But published reports have pointed out that many schools and other sites that have been the scenes of horrific mass murders have been demolished or heavily renovated.
Following the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo., in 1999 – in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and injured 21 others — students did not return to the school for the rest of the year. The students spent the last three weeks of classes at another high school, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recalled.
Afterward, the school – which had just undergone a $15.6 million renovation four years earlier – was subjected to a new $1.2 million renovation in which the bullet-ridden carpeting and ceiling tiles were replaced, along with furniture and paint in the cafeteria, the newspaper reported. The library, where 10 people were murdered, was later torn down and replaced with a glass atrium, the Post-Gazette reported.
The one-room schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., where gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and shot 10 Amish girls – killing five – was demolished 10 days after the October 2006 massacre, the Post-Gazette reported.
Following the massacre at Virginia Tech in April 2007 – in which gunman Seung Hui-Cho murdered 32 people – the Norris Hall science building where the shooting happened was closed for the rest of the spring, the Post-Gazette reported. The second floor, which was the scene of the carnage, later underwent a $1 million makeover and part of it became a home for the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Protection at the school, the newspaper reported.
And after the February 2008 massacre at Northern Illinois University – where gunman Steven Kaczmierczak killed five students and injured 21 during a geology lecture – then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed that the building where the shooting happened be demolished. But the plan was rejected, and the Cole Hall building underwent a $6 million renovation with new labs and a new auditorium.
Demolition has often been the choice for homes or buildings that were the scene of other gruesome crimes. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s house in the suburban Chicago district of unincorporated Norwood Park Township – where he stacked the bodies of 29 boys and young men in a crawlspace – was demolished in 1979 on a judge’s order.
The Los Angeles home where Charles Manson’s devotees brutally killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in 1969 was also demolished, but not for more than two decades after the murders. The very same living room where the murders took place was used as a recording studio by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails in 1993, shortly before the home was torn down to make way for new construction.
“We are holding both crime scenes, the school and a secondary crime scene (gunman Adam Lanza’s house where he killed his mother), indefinitely,” Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said at a news conference Monday in Newtown. “I don’t know how long that will be — I am suspecting months.”
The Sandy Hook students’ desks are being taken to Chalk Hill School in Monroe, Conn., and tradesmen are donating their services to ensure the building is ready, said Lt. Brian McCauley of the Monroe Police Department.
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