Education

Officials May Rebuild Columbine High School For Security Reasons

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter

Officials may tear down and rebuild Columbine High School to deter potential shooters in a move that could cost taxpayers in the county up to $70 million.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is currently gathering information on the project and may put the funding to a general vote, Superintendent Jason Glass wrote Thursday.

“The tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 serves as a point of origin for this contagion of school shootings,” Glass said. “School shooters refer to and study the Columbine shooting as a macabre source of inspiration and motivation.”

Glass added that Columbine experienced “record levels” of people attempting to enter the school illegally over the past 11 months, likely due to the shooting’s 20th anniversary.

Michael Dorn, Executive Director for non-profit campus safety center Safe Havens International, said to The Daily Caller News Foundation Friday he was not sure if replacing the school was the proper course of action. But, he could understand why a school would make such a choice.

“Sometimes hundreds of people are showing up from outside of the state in a single day and it gets to be disruptive… they pull up in front of the school and they jump out and take a selfie,” Dorn said.

Dorn added that changing the building designs or landscapes can make sites less appealing and reduce security exposure.

Some conceptual ideas for the new Columbine include replacing the current building with fields and controlled security points, building the school near the current site and enhancing security features, Glass wrote.

Ken Trump, President of Cleveland-based school security consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services, believes infatuation with Columbine will exist whether or not the building exists.

“We have to deal with the underlying issues that makes those fascinated with the attack a threat” Trump said to TheDCNF. “It’s not the building. It’s the incident that fascinates them.”

Trump continued that unless the potential threats was an anomaly, the “need for a new school and the attack 20 years ago” could be “one convenient selling point for a huge investment in the construction of a new school.”

Jefferson County along with other districts in the surrounding area have been on alert over the past few months. STEM School Highlands Ranch in neighboring Douglas County experienced a shooting where one student died and eight were injured in May.

Police vehicles are stationed outside the school following the shooting at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Police vehicles are stationed outside the school following the shooting at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Nearly 20 school districts in Colorado also shut down in April after officials were concerned about Florida teen Sol Pais potentially shooting up a school. She was deemed as “armed & dangerous” by officials, though she was later found dead 60 miles away from Denver on the base of Mount Evans in Clear Creek County.

Pais was said to be “infatuated” by the Columbine shooting. (RELATED: Colorado School Cleared Student Violence Concerns Months Before Shooting)

Voters already approved a measure in 2018 where $15 million would go toward renovating Columbine. However, the $15 million could be a part of rebuilding efforts or it could be distributed to other JCPS schools for security should the proposal happen.

JCPS did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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