Four Years After Massacre, NIU Opens Renovated Cole Hall

DEKALB, Ill. (CBS) — Students at Northern Illinois University on Tuesday got their first look at the renovated Cole Hall, nearly four years after a massacre left five students dead.

The building, the full name of which is Fay-Cooper Cole Hall, has not been used since gunman Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire during a geology lecture there on Feb. 14, 2008.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

The building went through a $6 million renovation, and now includes new labs and a beautiful new auditorium.

The lecture was in progress when Kazmierczak set a guitar case on the floor, pulled out a gun, and began shooting.

Five people were killed in the incident – Catalina Garcia, 20; Julianna Gehant, 32; Ryanne Mace, 19; Daniel Parmenter, 20; and Gaybe Dubowski, 20. A total of 21 others were injured.

Kazmierczak shot and killed himself before police arrived on the scene.

He had attended NIU previously, but at the time was doing graduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He had purchased the firearms he used in the shooting legally in Champaign.

A school spokesman calls the renovation a sign that NIU is moving forward.

Following the shooting, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed that Cole Hall be demolished, but the idea was later rejected.

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