School officials in Colorado are considering demolishing Columbine High School because of a “morbid fascination” surrounding the 1999 shooting there that left 12 students and a teacher dead, according to reports.
In a letter sent to parents Thursday, the superintendent of the Jefferson County School District urged the officials to consider the possibility of razing the high school in Littleton and building a new one nearby, KUSA-TV in Denver reported.
Columbine “serves as a point of origin for this contagion of school shootings,” Superintendent Jason Glass wrote. “School shooters refer to and study the Columbine shooting as a macabre source of inspiration and motivation.”
“School shooters refer to and study the Columbine shooting as a macabre source of inspiration and motivation.”
He said that while Columbine is one of the safest high schools in the country, in part because of measures implemented since the shooting, this year's 20th anniversary has brought trespassing and fascination with the school to record levels.
Under the proposal, the school’s name, colors and mascot would not be changed, the Denver Post reported.
Retired Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis, who was at the school in 1999, told KUSA he supports the idea.
“I don’t think anyone 20 years ago anticipated that in 2019 we’d be talking about this fascination with Columbine High School,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone 20 years ago anticipated that in 2019 we’d be talking about this fascination with Columbine High School.”
The superintendent added that at the time there was no guidance on what to do with a building after a school shooting but today experts recommend tearing schools down, KUSA reported.
"It wasn't designed to handle the pressures that are put on it by this interest in Columbine that comes from around the world," the superintendent said.
If the community’s response to the proposal is favorable, the school board may put it to voters this year or next. It would cost taxpayers between $60 million and $70 million, district officials predict, according to the Denver Post.