LITTLETON, CO — Jefferson County Public School officials are seeking community input on whether the Columbine High School should be torn down. The proposal would rebuild the buildings where the 1999 massacre occurred, but the school’s name, mascot and colors would remain, according to Jeffco Schools Superintendent Jason E. Glass.
In a letter to the community, Glass said concerns have arisen about students’ safety, as hundreds of so-called “Columbiners” — people who are obsessed with the shooting — seek to enter the school each year.
“Most of them are there to satisfy curiosity or a macabre, but harmless, interest in the school,” Glass said. “For a small group of others, there is a potential intent to do harm.”
In April, a troubled Florida teenager, Sol Pais, sparked a manhunt that closed schools in Colorado. She was obsessed with the Columbine school shooting, and made her way to Colorado to end her own life.
“The tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 serves as a point of origin for this contagion of school shootings,” Glass’ letter read. “School shooters refer to and study the Columbine shooting as a macabre source of inspiration and motivation.”
Columbine High School is now one of the safest schools in the nation, Glass said. The school has a “sophisticated” surveillance system and police and security protection.
“It also boasts a strong, inclusive, and positive school culture,” Glass said. “We continue to be inspired by the sound of voices in unison shouting ‘We Are Columbine!'”
But over the last 11 months, the number of people trying to get into the school illegally or trespassing on the property has reached record levels, Glass said.
His letter went on to read, in part:
The Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education and administration are exploring the concept of asking voters for an additional $60-$70 million at the polls at some point in the future to construct a new high school for Columbine. An expansion and renovation of the current high school was included as a part of the 5B Bond Program approved by voters in 2018 with an amount of $15 million designated for the school. This money could be considered as part of the new school construction or re-distributed to other schools across Jeffco for the purpose of enhanced safety features.
The following are some conceptual ideas for the new school and potential financial impacts:
We are in the very preliminary and exploratory stages of these conversations and we are seeking community feedback and thoughts on this proposal.
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