Four Years After Massacre, NIU Opens Renovated Cole Hall
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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.
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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.
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.