Before 9:45 a.m. on April 16, Virginia Tech’s Norris Hall building was used as offices and classrooms for the engineering department. On that day, it was used as a target to slaughter 31 people and wound over a dozen others. After the shooting, suggestions were made by the faculty, students, alumni, and others as to what should be done about the building, which was in ruins and contained such haunting memories. Some suggested reusing it for classrooms, turning it into a memorial, and knocking it down altogether. Finally, it was decided that the campus building will be opened as offices and laboratories on June 18. It will not be used for classrooms.

Norris Hall became a notoriously famous building on April l6 when VA Tech student Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage in the building after killing two people in a dorm room. He killed 31 people, including himself, in four classrooms and a stairwell before police were able to make it inside to stop him. There was controversy over the lack of information students were given about the first shooting in one of the dorms, and many believe the massacre in Norris Hall would have been prevented if students had been warned not to come to class that day.

There are many haunting stories to tell in the building. Some are horrendous images of innocent people being killed in cold blood by a clearly unstable individual. However, some are acts of heroism, such as students blocking the doors, teachers blocking the doorways with their bodies, students jumping out windows, and one student creating a tourniquet with a projector cord to save his own life. These stories capture the greater side of humanity which would have been lost along with the tragic memories had the building been torn down. In the end, it is the students and staff who have to see and sometimes occupy that building on a regular basis so the decision should be up to them.


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