Colorado officials float proposal to demolish Columbine High School

COLUMBINE, Colo. (KMGH) – Columbine High School is a “morbid fascination,” that’s what superintendent Jason Glass said in a letter to families and staff members this week.

20 years ago, twelve students and a teacher were killed at the school. More than 20 were wounded.

Glass says that during the past 11 months, a record number of people have trespassed or tried to enter the school illegally.

He said the magnet of interest in the school is becoming too much, which is why he’s proposing to tear it down and build a new one.

Crystal Woodman Miller is a Columbine survivor. She said, “The name ‘Columbine,’ the school ‘Columbine’ represents hope.” To the people who lived the Columbine Shootings.

Miller explained, “My senior year after the shootings it was the worst and the best year. Part of it was being able to go back in, reclaim that building as a community together and say they’re not going to take this from us.”

But 20 years later, the Jefferson County School District revealed for the first time the morbid fascination with the Columbine shootings, has only grown. So-called “Columbiners” are being drawn to the high school for inspiration.

Superintendent Jason Glass said, “We have hundreds of people who try to enter the building or walk onto the grounds or slow roll by it. We even have tour buses of people stop outside Columbine High School. It’s just a constant threat to the kids that are there.”

This year, a Florida teenager reportedly infatuated with the Columbine shootings came here. The massive manhunt for her shut down schools across the metro area and forced a new discussion.

Glass said, “Knowing what we know now, we really believe it’s time for us to have a conversation about something profoundly different for columbine going forward.”

In a letter released Thursday, the district said it’s exploring demolishing Columbine High School and building a new school—same name, same mascot—nearby. They’re asking taxpayers for up to $70 million for the project.

Tearing down buildings is what school safety experts now recommend doing after school shootings like Newtown and Parkland.

Former Columbine principal Frank Deangelis stressed the idea is in the exploratory stages, but he supports exploring it. “I am in support of getting a new building if that’s what people decide because it’s really the people that make Columbine,” Deangelis said. “It’s not the bricks and mortars, it’s the people.”

Still, many survivors have mixed feelings: Could the $70  million be used elsewhere? Would a new Columbine be the same? And most of all, will it really keep students safe?

“Selfishly,” Miller explained, “I would love to see that building stay and remain, my bigger concern is for the students and the staff who go there every day.”

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