The future of Norris Hall
My honest opinion is either they knock down the Hall and put up a memorial in its place or the Hall is kept and made a memorial. I don't think I'd want to go back to Norris if I was either a VA Tech employee or student. If the Hall remains standing, I would also name it after Professor Librescu.
Like the people of New York, Oklahoma City and Littleton, Colo., the Virginia Tech community faces a difficult decision on what it will do with the scene of a tragedy.
The classrooms and hallways of the school's Norris Hall were littered with the bodies of 25 students and five professors on April 16, plus the body of gunman Seung-Hui Cho .
Student Brian Skipper wonders how anyone can ever be expected to learn in Norris Hall again.
"I won't go back in that building," says the 21-year-old junior from Yorktown, who lost five friends in Norris, including his faculty adviser, G.V. Longanathan. "I couldn't see people returning in there and just going back to normal."
Two other students were slain in a campus dormitory.
The university has made no plans beyond cleaning and repairing the flat-roofed, oblong stone structure, which has remained under police guard since the killing spree.
However, faculty, students and alumni have already weighed in with suggestions for Norris' future, one of more than 100 buildings on Virginia Tech's 2,600-acre campus. Built in the early 1960s, it houses the department of engineering science and mechanics.
Ideas for the building's future range from returning it to use as classrooms to making it a memorial or even knocking it down.
At Virginia Tech, Norris Hall is still surrounded by chain-link fencing topped by yellow police tape, distinguishing it from the other buildings made from the same locally quarried rusty gray "Hokie" limestone. Several second-floor windows are open, their glass shattered by Cho's bullets and by students who jumped to escape the gunfire.
The decision on Norris Hall's fate is ultimately up to Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, said university spokesman Mark Owczarski.
An online petition has received more than 20,000 signatures in support of renaming Norris for engineering professor Liviu Librescu, who enabled students to jump to safety by blocking his classroom door with his body until Cho shot him. Librescu, 76, was a Holocaust survivor who had taught at the school for 20 years.
"I felt that something needed to be done to commemorate this brave man," Justin Kozuch, a web designer in Toronto who started the petition, said in an e-mail.
The building now is named for Earle Bertram Norris, who was engineering dean from 1928 to 1952.
Tomorrow marks three weeks since the Virginia Tech tragedy. Today or tomorrow also marks the last time those who died were seen to or spoken to by friends, family and other loved ones. When you lose a child, and I know this from my experience with Daniel, in the beginning you count days, weeks, months since the day your child dies. The pain never goes away, but the counting decreases and eventually stops. My wife and I used to always make it to cemetery on either the 25th(the day Daniel was born) or the 26th(The day Daniel died). We've stopped doing this but we still go to our son's grave once a week. God bless all the families of those who died at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.
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