June 14, 2007
School officials let us tour the newly repaired building where student gunman Seung-hui Cho finished his killing spree before killing himself. They say opening the building is part of the healing process.
We saw the doors Cho chained shut that day and the four classrooms on the second floor of the engineering building where Cho fired 174 shots with two handguns in nine minutes.
The room numbers 204, 206, 207 and 211 stripped from the outside frames. The desks and bulletin boards also gone.
"They were all stripped down, new ceiling put in and new paint" said Lawrence Hincker, University Associate Vice President.
No traces now of a mad gunman who once stood in the hallway of Norris Hall or of the students, so afraid for their lives, that barricaded the doors and even jumped two stories from the windows.
And we weren't the first to see the rooms. 18 tours were given to family members of those injured or killed as a way to help them grieve.
"As a way we can hope in some small way they can begin the healing process" said Hincker.
Students we talked to have mixed feelings about Norris Halls re-opening.
"Actually I feel happy about this because Norris a very important place for engineering department" said Xing Bo, a Virginia Tech student.
"I don't think any one wants to go back. The memories are just not good that you would want to go back anywhere near there" said Virginia Tech student Preshtha Bijlani.
The university hopes in time students will realize reopening the doors will help close the wounds.
They say Virginia Tech is where you invent the future and it's nice to see the future is up and running again.
No classes will ever meet in the building again. Those rooms will always be locked. Engineering researchers will use the sophisticated lab equipment that could not be moved.
The building re-opens officially Monday, only to those with a Virginia Tech I.D. A security guard will be stationed at the front entrance.