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Blagojevich: Tear down Cole Hall

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2008

* This may seem like a fitting tribute on its face

Governor Rod Blagojevich’s office says the building that was the scene of this month’s shooting at Northern Illinois University will be demolished and replaced with a new classroom building.

A gunman fatally shot five students attending a lecture inside Cole Hall before turning a gun on himself on Valentine’s Day.

Blagojevich plans an afternoon news conference to announce funding that will allow NIU to demolish Cole Hall. A new state-of-the-art general classroom building will be built on the site and named Memorial Hall.

But, as IlliniPundit also notes, I can’t help but wonder whether this is just another empty promise made without first identifying a funding source. It may not seem fair to appear so cynical at a time like this, but I’d hate to see expectations raised for no good reason.

This is our first discussion thread on the NIU shootings, so try to keep everything toned down in comments. Thanks.

…Adding… The facts weren’t completely clear when I first posted this, so some commenters need to take a deep breath…

* From what I gather, NIU officials were the ones who developed the idea and presented it to the governor’s office. So, it wasn’t some purely political thing concocted by Blagojevich as some commenters are claiming.

* Local legislators Sen. Burzynski and Rep. Pritchard have been involved in the discussions with the university and the governor’s staff about the proposal. They will reportedly introduce legislation to get additional bond authority and a supplemental appropriation for the project.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Dan S, a Voter - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:07 am:

    Not to sound harsh but with this Governors track record I pray that this is not a cruel political play to try and make this Administration look “good”. If this comes about it will help remove the reminder of the tradgedy and help the University continue the education process.

  2. - The Doc - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:10 am:

    Rich, I concur with your cynicism, as unpopular as it may be. This is stereotypical Blago, leveraging a hot-button issue in an effort to pander to voters. Ideas now, funding later (maybe).

    Was this issue a unilateral decision made by the governor’s administration, or did he seek input from the staff, students, and faculty at NIU? (Yes, a rhetorical question).

  3. - plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:11 am:

    Another empty gesture from Springfield, and a insensitive politicization of a great tragedy.

    The solution to what should be done with Cole Hall should be made by NIU and local community leaders, not some politician in Springfield. It further sets a macabre precedent. Under what conditions should a facility be demolished? I really don’t think some remote body should be deciding how to solve sensitive issues.

    I would support a solution that was developed by the NIU and local community. Whether State support was involved would be a separate thing.

  4. - GoBearsss - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:16 am:

    I am sure the line “funding to allow NIU to demolish Cole Hall” means that NIU asked for it.

  5. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:16 am:

    ditto plutocrat…using this tragedy for even the slightest perception of political gain is abhorrent…why doesn’t Blago vow to work with the GA on protective gun laws for the citizens of the State?…truly a collaborative and thoughtful gesture…to date, all his gestures cost too much money…

  6. - Ghost - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:17 am:

    We have schools that have been waiting for years to put up buildings or fix buildings that are in horrible shape, some almost uninhabitable.

    Perhaps we should put State funds where they are needed in education capital projects. While NIU shootings where a horrible tragedy, there is no need to repalce a useable building! Rename it memorial hall, and release capital funds to the schools who have been waiting years to get them.

    This is more press coverage sound bite popularity mongering from a failed leader.

  7. - Dan S, a Voter - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:17 am:

    plutocrat03, I completely agrree with the spirit of your post, but this “empty gesture” did not come from Springfield, it came from Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is on record as not working in Springfield or so says the spin sisters.

  8. - MOON - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:18 am:

    In recognition of all the “nuts out there” I could forsee many similar tragedies happening in the future.

    If we were to follow Blago’s suggestion, it won’t be long before every college campus in America will be demo’d and new structures built.

    The answer is not tearing down Cole!

  9. - GoBearsss - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    From what I understand - the building had two classrooms.

    I don’t think there ever again would be classes in those classrooms, especially the one where the incident occured.

    So, you can either make the building a memorial, or you can tear it down. Or you just let it sit there empty as a big, hunking, scary reminder to everyone who walks by as to what happened that day.

  10. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:21 am:

    Tearing it down won’t bring 1 life back. There are facilities that need torn down and that is not one of them.

  11. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:24 am:

    The governor is a living monument to Chutzpah

  12. - plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:25 am:


    I stand corrected. This was not an empty gesture from Springfield, but from one man.

    I apologize to all the hard working legislators in Springfield.

  13. - GOP - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:26 am:

    I, too, am skeptical. but, i am not familiar with Cole Hall or who Cole was.

    Other schools that have faced this tragedy have remodeled the area. I wonder if that was even discussed?

  14. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:30 am:

    I hope he has the decency not to play politics with this. As an NIU alum, I’m ambivalent. Whether it’s the 9/11 hijackers or the NIU murderer, I think sometimes we give the perpetrators more power through our reactions.

  15. - Old Elephant - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:31 am:

    I don’t get this. Is the building obsolete? Surely even this Governor doesn’t think you should tear down every building where a tragedy occurs.

    If that’s the case, should we tear down the Capitol after a guard was shot?

    I think most people would say it is better to return the site to normalcy as soon as possible. If we establish a policy of tearing down every site where a tragedy occurs, we won’t have many buildings left in Illinois.

  16. - No Peotone Airport - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:32 am:

    If you take the Governor out the equation; his reputation, track record, personality - all of it, and consider the idea on its own merits — does this set a good precedent?

    Tearing down Cole Hall could be part of a dynamic long-term plan, but a lot of thoughtful dialogue needs to take place first. This seems rushed to me, and jarring as well. It’s not the kind of decision that should be made in the heat of the moment.

  17. - Esteban - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:36 am:

    I can see the building being torn down and Blago
    only approving enough money for half of a new
    building because of a spat with someone who represents the area in the House or Senate.

  18. - Leo - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    If you take a deeper look into it Rich, this action and funding was requested by NIU officials and the student body.

    You’re right to feel bad about your cynicism here. It’s plain ugly.

  19. - Gwendolyn - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:49 am:

    This is exactly the same ploy as Blagojevich’s seniors-ride-free twist to the RTA doomsday situation. As he said at that time, he wanted to turn “lemons into lemonade.” He’s doing it for votes. He won’t fund higher education properly, schools’ tuitions will likely see hikes across the board, but he’s going to spend millions to tear down Cole Hall and build a new one in its place. That’s not going to make people forget. I’m not aware if Virginia’s governor made any such proposals after the Virginia Tech tragedy. But if so, would they have forgotten? No. Is the state of Illinois under Blagojevich’s power going to just tear something down and put something in its place every time someone is killed or hurt?

    It’s terrible what happened at NIU, but nothing the governor does is going to change that. And I doubt he’ll even find the money. The lottery? Yeah, right.

  20. - Levois - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:49 am:

    Isn’t he making a mistake that many politicians try to do in wake of a tragedy. Make this big promises and overly politicize things such as this?

  21. - curious george - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    Why does the metaphor “Red Herring” always come to mind when Blago comes up with a wunderplan?

  22. - Leo - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    My above comment goes for everyone:

    This was requested by NIU officials and the NIU student body.

  23. - Sawyer - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:56 am:

    This may sound a bit strange, but where is the NIU cancer center going? Perhaps they could make use of a building no one is going to want to go into anymore, whether or not they change the name from Cole Hall to Memorial Hall, and make it the Cole Memorial Cancer Treatment Center … or something to that effect. They need to still build the cancer center, as far as I thought, so why not remodel Cole and change it to help SAVE lives? I think that would be fitting.

  24. - Leigh - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    I think the tragedy is to new and it is to soon to make reasonable decisions. With all due respect every University in this state would like the Governor to tear down buildings and put up new ones. The governor is forcing tuition hikes at every major university this year with his proposed budget. This is a man trying to take political advantage of a horrible tragedy. Otherwise, he would have left the announcement to the NIU officials.

  25. - Ken in Aurora - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    ” Leo - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    My above comment goes for everyone:

    This was requested by NIU officials and the NIU student body.”


  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    Before you comment, please check the update. Thanks.

  27. - DumberThanYouThink - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    Hope the NIU folks ask for cash if Blaggo turns up in DeKalb….no check pleezzz.

  28. - Gwendolyn - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    Leo, though it may have been requested by NIU, the governor is still going to use it to his advantage. That’s just what he does. After the Public Official A confirmation that we’d all known to be true in the first place, he’s going to continually try to get as much positive press out there as he can. And it’s sad that that’s what this will become, is another glorifying press conference after another.

    Whether or not he finds the money for this one school, that’s another case. This will likely go on for a good while.

  29. - GoBearsss - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:08 am:

    “he’s going to continually try to get as much positive press out there as he can. ”

    How dare he!

  30. - Doug Dobmeyer - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    OMG, its more than the Gov. who is off their political rocker. Why waste all the money to tear down a building and construct a new one. Yes, a terrible thing happend their, but it doesn’t require the public to spend millions so the pols feel better.

    It would be a better tribute for the GA to pass meaningful gun legislation that keeps people like the shooter from arming themselves in the future.

    Doug Dobmeyer

  31. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    Well, I suppose it will make people feel better so why not. The money is there. Maybe they’ll have
    to cut back a bit on an Emil’s Earmark or two, or
    hold off on hiring another squad of patronage hacks.

  32. - Leo - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    Well, I was right, wasn’t I?

    This is the last time I’m commenting on this site. The commentators are vicious and little-minded people, and I don’t want to be associated with any of that.

    Feel free to remove my comments, Rich.

  33. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:14 am:

    Leo, feel free to go.

  34. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:18 am:

    And since your IP address is the same as another frequent commenter here, I assume “both” of you will be leaving as well.

  35. - DumberThanYouThink - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:40 am:

    Capt. Fax:
    Apparently Leo does not know about jury tampering.
    TTFN Leo

  36. - GoBearsss - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:41 am:

    Don’t feel bad Leo.

    If the original post had said “Governor: Keep Cole Hall standing”, all the commenters would have gone on and on about how Blago was getting a cheap press pop, and that Cole Hall really needed to be demolished, and the decision should be left up to the university…

  37. - InquiringMind - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:42 am:

    While he’s at it, why doesn’t he propose demolishing the statehouse because of all the corruption that has gone on there? Isn’t that edifice a constant reminder of things we would pray had not happened as well?

  38. - Fan of the Game - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:44 am:

    Ghost said it best: Cole is a structurally and functionally sound building and should be kept. The funds the governor is discussing should be used for construction plans that have been on the list for years.

    Remember when the governor made a big to-do about the high school at Carterville, and how their project would be placed at the head of the list? Williamson County recently passed a sales tax to help schools like Carterville because no construction funds have come from the state.

    The NIU shootings were a tragedy, but that doesn’t mean that viable state resources should be demolished. Remodel the lecture hall where the shootings took place, but razing the building seems such a waste.

  39. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 11:45 am:

    InquiringMind, take it easy.

  40. - RMW Stanford - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:03 pm:

    What happen at NIU was horrible thing, but I dont see any reason to tear and replace a building if their is nothing structurally wrong with it or if changes in technology have not made it obsolete. I dont think that removing the building will lessen the memory or the trauma of the event any. I suspect that there are probably better use for the money.

  41. - Macbeth - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:07 pm:

    Actually, the idea of tearing down the building is probably a good idea. It’s a human response to a terrible tragedy — and it makes sense, IMHO.

    The issue for me isn’t the tearing down of building. It’s Blagojevich’s involvement. This is one decision he could have toned down a bit. I realize that’s not possible for the governor — at least not these days — but it strikes me that his involvement (and his press-machine’s involvement) is awkward at best.

    He’s Public Official A. He’ll always be Public Official A. Frankly, this is not the issue he should use for deflection. This is quite sleazy, IMHO — but typical for Blagojevich. Overly aggressive and strange.

  42. - Moderate REpub - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:13 pm:

    My problem is that I am told Blago will go to the General Assembly and ask for an “emergency appropriation” for the new hall at Northern. Northern has the LARGEST deffered Maint. in the state university system. I think they should fix their delapitating system first. Besides, brick and mortar money from the state will not happen unless a cap bill is passed (at least for university buildings). SO while the Gov might not have developed the idea, he sure did jump on it.

  43. - Levois - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:24 pm:

    Does NIU only want to demolish the building because of the tragedy?

  44. - BehindTheScenes - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:31 pm:

    Does Blah-Blah really think no one in DeKalb will ask him about being “Public Official A”? I understand he canceled a press avail at the Statehouse yesterday for not wanting to hear that sort of questions.

  45. - the Patriot - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    I soberly suggest NIU not tear down the building until the construction check has cashed.

  46. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:45 pm:

    It seems awfully premature to rush into destroying what appears to be a sound and serviceable building.
    Virginia Tech chose not to destroy Norris Hall, but is remodeling the area where most of the 32 deaths occurred into a center for peace and justice studies. The dorm where one of the shootings took place is also still in use, although the actual room the victim lived in is still closed.
    Columbine HS did not tear down the entire school but simply removed the library where most of the shootings took place. In both these cases, only the immediate room/area where most of the victims died was removed or changed.
    Something else to consider is that college campuses have turnover of student residents every year. Most of the students who were on campus during the shootings will be gone within the next 4 years. Eventually the campus will be populated with a whole new generation of students who have no personal memories of this tragedy. Decisions about campus improvements or changes of any kind ought to be made with them in mind.

  47. - Rich O. - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:50 pm:

    Cole is an outmoded building that was in need of work- ideally major work, but NIU has had higher capital needs (Stevens for one). Working on the building must have been on a wishlist for NIU, just not enough of a priority to push.

    The shooting changed that. It either had to be gutted and changed significantly or flattened and replaced. To just patch up the lecture hall and continue on would have been too creepy for anyone associated with NIU to accept.

  48. - yinn - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:54 pm:

    I’m not only an alum but as a current DeKalb resident who is a little bewildered at the flippancy and insensivity of some of the comments.

    Blago WAS here last weekend but as far as I know the visit was totally dignified.

    The claim about deferred maintenance is without a doubt true. NIU still has a bunch of buildings that have not been updated even as far as acessability. That being said, there’s a lot not to like about the auditorium-style classrooms including security issues.

    BTW the cancer center is going in DuPage County–and yes, that IS something of a sore point in DeKalb.

  49. - OneManBlog - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 12:54 pm:

    Well because of it’s location and design I think it would be a challenge to re-purpose the building for something else also it is the home of the large lecture halls so that would still be a need on campus.

  50. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    Well, if as Rich O. says, the building was going to need major work in any event, then I guess it would be better to get rid of it.
    Now that Yinn mentions it, perhaps sprawling, auditorium-style lecture halls ARE outdated for safety and other reasons — not just in case of a shooting but also in case of fire, tornado, etc.

  51. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 1:16 pm:

    I think it would be more appropriate to tear down the governor’s mansion and start anew after he vacates it to inhabit a bunkbed.

    Seriously, c’mon, the state and all educational systems are REALLY scrapped for money, and that just seems to be a tremendous waste. More appropriate that it continue to serve students at the university, to symbolize the studens’ resolve to continue learning despite the deeds of a lunatic who’s name should never be publicly mentioned again.

  52. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    Oh, and lest anyone think me heartless, I have a child attending there who was incidentally (and thankfully) outside the building at the time it happened. If the state is intent on spending that money, why not establish scholarships in the names of the victims?

  53. - There He Goes Again - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 1:21 pm:

    The first question that comes to mind from a cynic like me is, `How long will NIU wait for the state dollars needed to rebuild Cole Hall?’ Exhibit A is Silvis, IL, where that school is waiting five years after the Governor visited with a big, rubber check.

  54. - Truth - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 1:38 pm:

    For the Rod supporters out there whining about everyone’s rush to assume the worst motivation about him, remember this;

    All of the mistrust, cynicism, disdain and negative feeling these commenters have about the Governor is arrived at honestly and imbedded into their minds as human beings because of the many actions of this Governor over the last few years that have created and continually reinforced those feelings.

    I, for one, am not shocked that people jump to these conclusions.

  55. - True Observer - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 1:58 pm:

    “Virginia Tech chose not to destroy Norris Hall, but is remodeling the area where most of the 32 deaths occurred into a center for peace and justice studies.”

    Typical pc liberal thinking.

    It should be a center for what to do when you see a crazed gunman. Namely, shoot to kill.

  56. - Moderate REpub - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:29 pm:

    I am told by an ex director for the Edgar administration that at a private religious college in KY, a couple fo years ago, a student went to the front of class, branished a shootgun. He then started threating to fire the weapon. I am told two students (KY is a conceal and carry state) rose and put the gun man down. THought it would be a great research project for someone to dig up, and present a nice subject for people to blog on for conceal and carry pro and con. I have looked for an article, but havent located it. ANyone know what I am referring to?
    While KY is a conceal and carry state, I dont know if the campus had a restriction on it or not.

  57. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:32 pm:

    MR, please do a little of your own research (Google, perhaps) before posting stuff like that. Thanks.

  58. - Moderate REpub - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:36 pm:

    i did and couldn’t find anything. I just keep hearing the story. Its probably folk lore. My bad

  59. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:43 pm:

    This should be an occasion to give more thought to the entire future of NIU, and in deed all of Illinois higher education, beyond just this one incident.
    Another five years and most of the students who were at NIU that tragic day will be graduated. In another 10 or 15 years, most of them will have been grade school or preschool kids with only a vague memory of having heard about it on the news. Another 25 years and most of the student body will have not even been born when it happened. But the decisions we as a state make today concerning ALL of higher education will impact them, even if this particular tragedy does not.

  60. - Macbeth - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:47 pm:

    I’ve been in front of a few rowdy classrooms in my time — intellectually rowdy, I mean — and I’m not sure I’d like the idea of some over-emotional student participating in the fray to suddenly whip and concealed weapon from a backpack and start insisting that, yeah, listen to me, carrying a gun is a fundamental right.

    The idea that a concealed weapon would have taken out the shooter is borderline absurd. I’m far less concerned about an outside shooter in a familiar classroom than I am about a familiar shooter in a familiar classroom. Banning weapons means half that equation is moot.

    And from a purely speculative perspective, I’d say a stranger with a unconcealed weapon is more of an underdog than a familar face with a concealed weapon — assuming that both weapons have an equal chance of injuring or killing someone in the immediate vicinity. Factor in an “unpredictability and adrenaline factor” — and I’d say the pro-NRA, card-carrying concealed weapon shooter is *far* more likely to kill or injure someone innocent than the unconcealed weapon-toting madman.

  61. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:48 pm:

    Let’s try to stick to the topic at hand. Concealed carry has zero chance of passage in this General Assembly. Move along, please.

  62. - Macbeth - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:49 pm:

    Whoops –

    Wow. I typed too fast. I confused even myself. I should say:

    “And from a purely speculative perspective, I’d say a stranger with a unconcealed weapon is less likely to shoot someone than a familar face with a concealed weapon — assuming that both weapons have an equal chance of injuring or killing someone in the immediate vicinity.”

    Not sure what I meant by the idea of the “underdog” there. Long day. Strange thread.

  63. - GoBearsss - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:56 pm:

    To move away from that topic…

    Rich, did you intentionally title this post to mirror Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! “?

    Or was that accidental? ‘Cause I don’t know if I get the connection.

  64. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 2:59 pm:

    Just remember that whatever funds are used to replace Cole Hall - new or old, but budgeted for some other capital need - something else, perhaps more important, won’t get built. After years of no capital funds, the list of unsafe, failing infrastructure in Illinois is a mile long. What will a new building memorial to those who died mean if another piece of Illinois infrastructure fails due to lack of funding and someone else dies?

  65. - True Observer - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 3:13 pm:

    One of the sorry by-products of our pc culture is that it has made the men effiminate.

    Many have commented on how at Virginia Tech, the male students didn’t even bother throwing books at the shooter.

    Also, at NIU the shooter is alleged to have walked off the stage, down one aisle, turned around and walked down the other all the way to the beginning.

    Not one student bothered to pick up a chair to crack his skull.

    Thank you liberal america.

  66. - Princeville - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 3:48 pm:

    Not sure I agree with emergency assist money, it’s a terrible thing that happened, but and don’t blame the campus/students not wanting to look at the building in their time of grief, an emergency call to rebuild is , to me, a bit of a push.

    I assume that the Cole Hall as anthropology has space in the basement of the hall, was named for Fay-Cooper Cole, will there be plans to somehow continue to honor Mr Cole in the anthropology department?

  67. - college student - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 3:48 pm:

    I am not a college student at NIU so I have no connection to this, so I might be very wrong but it seems like a waste to replace this building. I can see sealing the room in which this happened but tearing down the building seems to be a waste.

    Norris Hall at VT University was not torn down. In fact even the floor where all of the shootings happened will be reopened as a center for peace and violence prevention. I would strongly reccommend NIU close of the building for the remainder of the year, then open up other floors, and then decide what to do with the building. See how the campus community reacts and move on from there.

  68. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 4:00 pm:

    I put it to you that this is a ploy from the NIU President to use the tragedy as a way to get a brand new building to replace an aging one.

  69. - NIU '89 grad - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 4:16 pm:

    To continue what True Observer said…

    Reportedly, the shooter only took his own life when, while shooting up the classroom, he glanced out a window to see a NIU campus police officer (the chief?) SPRINTING toward Cole Hall. Response time from the first 911 call was around 29 seconds.

    If I were a student there now I don’t know if I’d want to ever take classes held in Cole again. I took several journalism courses in the basement. Too eerie. Tear it down.

  70. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 4:53 pm:

    I have no opinion on whether to replace the hall, but this clearly points out that there is plenty
    of taxpayer money for so many things if the guv
    wants to spend it.

    We should just be grateful that once in a while
    there millions in money gets spent on some broader need, like expanded health care.

  71. - Reddbyrd - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 4:55 pm:

    Capt Fax:
    Don’t get nervous, but the Tribune web site has 178 posters on this story….Most condemn the idea, Blaggo, etc.

  72. - Honest Abe - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 5:05 pm:

    More lunacy from Blagojevich, the grandstanding opportunist.

    Why stop at Cole Hall on the NIU campus? Let’s tear down the Daley Center too. Two persons were murdered on the 16th floor of the Daley Center in a domestic relations courtroom. Talk about insensitivity, the courtroom is still in use with a commemorative plaque.

    This sarcasm is not intended to belittle the students and faculty at NIU, but Blagojevich is a complete fool as governor. Illinois cannot pay its bills, so let’s waste some more money that we do not have for the sake of publicity.

  73. - Say WHAT? - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 5:12 pm:

    It is irresponsible to tear down a structurally sound building and build another with $20 Million in taxpayer dollars. What happened at Cole Hall was terrible, unspeakable. Our state is in financial trouble. Drs don’t want to accept medicaid because the state isn’t repaying them. Constituents cannot find a Dr. within a 60 mile radius. WE ARE NOT FUNDING OUR CURRENT OBLIGATIONS. How can we promise to rebuild a building that is structurally sound, while some school buildings around the state are unsafe? I could understand modernizing Cole Hall so it is more efficient, useful, and doesn’t look the same, which might be helpful to those traumatized by this event. If we do allow this tear down and rebuild, are we setting a precident? Should we pay to tear down every building in which a tragedy happens? The state simply cannot afford to do so, and I don’t think its the right thing to do even if we could afford it. More thought needs to be given to this matter. I have heard that the worst time to make major decisions is during times when emotions run high. I hope cooler heads prevail.

  74. - Leigh - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 5:31 pm:

    AP has a story posted saying many students don’t want it torn down. Must just be administration and governor.

  75. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 6:26 pm:

    Moderate Repub 2:29:

    Is this the story you are referring to?

    In any case, three were killed before the “intervention”, so the armed students may have saved more from being killed or injured, but were not able to avert the tragic shooting initially.

  76. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Feb 27, 08 @ 9:05 pm:

    Several years ago I read a book called “Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy” by Kenneth Foote, which deals with the various ways sites of tragic events are treated.
    Foote outlines four basic approaches that can be taken: sanctification (turning the entire site into a memorial), commemoration (marking the site in a less conspicuous fashion), rectification (restoring the site to good use) and obliteration (destroying it). The book was written in the late 1990s and briefly updated after 9/11.
    What I see happening at NIU is the start of a debate over which approach, or which combination of approaches, is most appropriate. The project announced today sound like a blend of all four approaches.

  77. - Frosty da Snowman - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 5:12 am:

    I can’t believe that people here are so cynical. The people of the DeKalb area are hurting and the governor is trying to ease their pain. What’s wrong with that. The governor is better able to manage the demolition of the building and, when Tony Rezko is ultimately found innocent, I’m sure that his real estate expertise could benefit the construction of a new memorial.

  78. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 6:26 am:

    So now what - any time someone gets shot at a college, we’re going to tear down the building and build a bigger and better one? If NIU gets $40 million for one, you better believe that the next one will be as much if not more - and just where does the Sheriff of Nottingham think the money is going to come from? Where is the legislature in all of his spending? Where is the voice for the Illinois taxpayers standing up against all of this pork barrel spending? Someone has got to rein in this fool before he bankrupts everyone here!

  79. - Captain America - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 8:09 am:

    No disrespect to the victims and their families, or the students, but Governor A’s plan is a classic Blago PR stunt and a total boodoggle! What a waste of money - tearing down a perfectly good building - it makes no sense to me. The $40 million would be better spent on some other education-related capital project.

  80. - soccermom - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 8:14 am:

    With a new $40 million endowment, how many full scholarships could NIU give each year in memory of those students who died?

  81. - Say WHAT? - Thursday, Feb 28, 08 @ 1:36 pm:

    40 Mill? Its worse than I thought!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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