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Should NIU's Cole Hall be demolished?

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich has announced that NIU's Cole Hall - the scene of the horrific campus massacre - will be demolished and, ultimately, be replaced with another classroom building to be called Memorial Hall. To our knowledge, this is the first time the scene of a campus or high school tragedy like this has resulted in the destruction of a building. While we're not disputing the sincerity of the governor's proposal, the question must be asked: Is it a wise decision? First of all, would a lengthy demolition and then construction process serve only to prolong the lingering pain and dark memories for the students and faculty of NIU and, secondly, is it a wise fiscal decision in a cash-strapped state dealing with tough economic times? And just think, everyone who eventually walks into that new building will know exactly why it exists and how it got its name. Do we want that as a permanent legacy for NIU? You be the judge.

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20 Comments

Enough with the memorials already. Memorials are over-rated. Ask the veterans if they would rather have another war memorial or wall and they would tell you they would rather see their VA hospitals improved with that money. How long have they argued about the proper memorial and re-building at ground zero after 911 in NY? I bet the families of those firemen and policeman would rather see that money spent on college scholarships for those fatherless/motherless children.

I'm tired of low-life politicians exploiting tragedy for their political gain. NY mayor Guiliani was prime example, front and center to the point of exhaustion after 911. How many times did we have to see his FDNY hat at Yankee games. How many "photo-op" helicoptor rides did George Bush have to fly over Katrina ravaged Mississippi and New Orleans to give us the impression he was on top of the situation....what a dog and pony show these tragedies have become. If your kid fell out of a tree in the yard and broke his arm, would you go out and chop it down? or teach him how to climb? Use that money to improve security on campus but it should be in the form of private donations NOT taxpayer money for crying out loud already ROD...

No, it should not be demolished. Everyone should go to the governors web site and email a comment advising him so in addition to posting their comments here.

>>Should NIU's Cole Hall be demolished?

NO!

Just another example of government waste and fraud.

Mike wrote
"When will common sense triumph where we can outlaw semi-automatic and automatic weapons?"

Last time I checked automatic weapons are already illegal to posses except for the select few who go through a Federal background check and obtain a permit.

Well, Mike, this topic was discussed right after the shooting. Go to the February archives and you will see many compelling arguments against the gun confiscation you seem to advocate. By the way, I don't remember any reports of an Uzi being used in the NIU shootings. In answer to your question of why people purchase guns like Uzis, the answer is that for someone who enjoys the hobby of shooting, they are fun to shoot. If you don't enjoy shooting, you will not understand that, just as I don't understand why people buy multiple sets of golf clubs just to chase a little white ball around.

When will common sense triumph where we can outlaw semi-automatic and automatic weapons? Enough of the crap rhetoric of the NRA. There is absolutely no reason why guns like an Uzi should be able to be purchased. There is only one use for a gun like that and it is for killing *people*. And if common sense ever does reign, how about banning the video games that portray shooting your classmates or other types of senseless violence? Sometimes there is a fine line between fantasy and reality.

The governor is an idiot and fiscally irresponsible. Shame on him for offering that at such a vulnerable time. How will this help the families, the students or the community? Will someone stand up to him and say THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!

Tear down the building if the governor is paying for the replacement himself and not one red cent is extracted from the taxpayers. Blagojevich is totally responsible for the murders at NIU, Tinley Park and many other killings in our state. Had the citizens of Illinois been allowed to protect themselves, instead of being inhibited by a governor who despises and spits on the United States Constitution, then there could have been an excellent chance of killing the mass murderer before he took so many innocent lives.

They should only demolish it if the governor is inside the building while it is being wrecked.

Absolutely not! This is the typical Liberal knee jerk reaction we've grown to expect from "Public Official A". If we don't have adequate funds to support our public education and transportation systems, where is the $40 MILLION dollars to raise and rebuild an inanimate object going to come from? The inexcusable massacre of five people plus the self inflicted death of the perpetrator, do not justify punishment of law abiding citizens or a perfectly good building.

The responsibility for what happened at NIU is clearly in the hands of Steven Kazmierczak not the guns he used or the building he committed the crime. "If a carpenter builds a crooked house, don't destroy the hammer, fire the carpenter!"

No they should NOT take down the building they need to suck this up and get over it, welcome to life BAD things happen to all.If they don't want to go to class in that building they they fail the class period!!

As someone stated, unless it was already slated for replacement, leave it alone.

Yes, what happened is very unfortunate. No, those people did not deserve to die.
That event alone does not equate to the need to tear down a structure and build anew.

VA tech did not rebuild its structures (that I know of).
Gainesville did not rebuild their apartment complexes 17 years ago.
Kent State did not rebuild their whole outside grounds back in the Vietnam era.

...you get the idea.

Most universities have some form of "master plan" which they use to decide which building to build, renovate, expand, demolish, replace, etc. This would be some good investigative reporting to see what is contained within NIU's existing master plan if they indeed have one.

It would be a most disgraceful and disgusting form of political pandering and grandstanding if this building was shown to already have been slated for demolition and replacement.

On the bigger issue we do have all kinds of public and private buildings where any number of kinds of tragedies can and, unfortunately it seems, will take place. I'm not sure I want to see building razed just because of the unfortunate events of one day. Think about it. What if really sick minds started targeting and staging events at historic and major national sites. Would we raze the Lincoln Memorial or a state capital or the White House or the Getty or MoMA or Monticello or Vanderbuilt Mansion or ??? Where would it end and what would it cost us from a cultural and architectural perspective?

Do we need to honor and memorialize the innocent and unfortunate. As a compassionate society I think we are compelled to find a meaningful and lasting way to do that. I'm not sure razing an inanimate building is even close to a correct answer. To me it is like we are seeking a form of revenge against the building in so doing, yet buildings play no active part in these events.

Cole Hall should continue to be used, with perhaps a memorial to the victims within the building. If Cole Hall continues to operate, it will support the notion that we will not be bullied by pathetic human beings like this mass murderer. We will stand up and continue to live without fear.

While I understand about the money situation. This building should have been demolished when I was taking classes there in the early 90's. From what I understand it hasn't gotten any better, and should probably be replaced soon whether or not the recent incidents occurred. Considering the situation it just makes sense to get rid of it.

No, that just plays into the ego hungry maniac that killed those poor kids. In some sick twisted way the killer would almost smirk at the idea that his killing spree ended up with the building be razed. Sad as it is, a memorial is more appropriate. We need to move on, pray and never forget.

Just when I thought "the Blag" could not possibly do something more dumb than his previous idiocies he grandstands in his pandering pursuit of votes in this ridiculous exercise. I DO NOT want to pay for a replacement building. There is absolutly NO reason to tear down that building. It is wonderful to eulogize the unfortunate that have lost their lives in this tragedy but come on. We all face some tragedy in our lives and somehow we find a way to survive, just as the students of Northern will. And they could have done it with that building still standing.

Just when did it become pc to be whimpy? How have we ever survived this long?


I definitely sympathize with this tragedy, being a NIU alumnus. Why not turn Cole Hall into a memorial building, or some sort of peace center as Virgina Tech had done? Why spend an additional 40 million dollars of our hard earned tax money on a demolition project? this makes no sense. The legislature could not balance the budget last year, but our "wonderful" governer wants to spend money that this state most definitely does not have. Will he be raising taxes again? Typical Democrat: more government, more taxes.

I have one question - Where is our governer getting the money to build a new building? Maybe another sales tax increase?

As a symbol, I'm not sure the building did anything wrong and shouldn't be punished. If the building needs to be replaced because it is used up so be it.

I would rather see the money spent on something useful, like making sure that mentally unstable people are properly tracked and recorded on the state and federal data bases so that they can't get guns.

Was the shooting at NIU the result of bureaucratic incompetence on the part of the State of Illinois. It appears the answer is yes.


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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on February 27, 2008 11:33 AM.

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