Norris Hall reopening is one step toward healing

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Norris Hall reopening is one step toward healing

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<b>A student perspective</b>

By: Bryan Schamus


(June 6) I will admit that I once uttered the statement, "There is no way any student should have to walk through that building again."

Norris Hall being "that building" - the site on campus at Virginia Tech where 31 of the 33 people killed on April 16 were shot.

But now, almost two months later, I just don&#39;t feel that way anymore.

When the university announced Tuesday in a press release that Norris will reopen on June 18, I was surprised. But after the initial shock wore off (about five minutes), I was not only OK with it, I realized that I am very glad.

A lot of fellow students agree.

"I think it&#39;s a good decision," said Caitlin Czeh, a 2005 graduate who has lived and worked in Blacksburg for the past two years. "It seemed like it just the right amount of time. A decision now will give students and professors who will be working in that building time to acclimate themselves and prepare themselves for being in there. And it gives those students who won&#39;t be in there some closure."

As announced, the building will open for office and laboratory use only. It once accounted for 5 percent of the classrooms on campus but will never be used for classes again.

I understand that not every student will be ready to return to that now-infamous building. But once again, the university is bending over backward to take care of students; other arrangements will be made for those not wanting to return there.

Personally, I feel very comfortable with this decision, especially since the engineering faculty themselves requested to move back in, according to the press release. Many of them had laboratory equipment and other materials necessary to do their research that would have been difficult to relocate or replace.

"As someone who was here [at Tech] on April 16, I don&#39;t know if I could go back into the building, especially so soon," said Jennie Tal, a 2007 graduate and a fellow BigLickU writer. "But on the other side, while this is a little soon, I think it is a good step in the direction of recovery."

Eventually, the empty classrooms will turn into more offices and labs. For now, many areas of the building have been repainted, and new lights have been installed.

Plans are under way for an official memorial somewhere else on campus.

Students and faculty will be able to enter the building using the Holden-Norris tunnel entrance. The building will be unlocked from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, locked on weekends and accessible by key during off-hours.

The building will not be open to visitors.

I spent a good portion of today on campus at Tech and could not find one person in my travels who really opposed this decision. Like me, some were surprised, but then most talked of the healing that has already happened and needs to continue.

To me, closing Norris or knocking it down is just giving in to the evil that was perpetrated on this campus that day.

On June 14, four days before the scheduled reopening, the school will give tours of Norris in groups of 25 to the media. Dean Amy - our editor - and I will be on the first one at 10 a.m.

It will not be easy.

I&#39;m 21 years old, a senior at Virginia Tech. A close friend lost her best friend in that building in April.

But I am honored to be able to report to you the state this place is now in.

Look for our coverage on the walking tour of Norris Hall on June 14.

And to all those engineering students and faculty out there who will return to Norris on the 18th, good for you.

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Original Source: <a href=http://www.biglicku.com/blu/Stories/StoryDisplayPage.aspx?Title=Norris%20Hall%E2%80%99s%20reopening%20is%20one%20step%20toward%20healing&ID=355> Big Lick U - June 6, 2007</a>

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Bryan Schamus

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Date

2007-06-28

Contributor

Sara Hood

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Chris Winston <Chris.Winston@biglicku.com>

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eng

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Bryan Schamus, "Norris Hall reopening is one step toward healing," in The April 16 Archive, Item #624, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/624 (accessed November 1, 2014).