Florida lawmakers are hoping the students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will never again have to set foot in the building where a gunman killed 17 of their own.
A group of state senators who visited the school on Thursday told the Miami Herald they plan to provide the resources Broward County Public Schools needs to demolish Building 12 of the high school complex and replace it with a new set of classrooms. They would also like to establish a memorial for the slain students and instructors on the site of Wednesday’s shooting.
“These kids are not going to go back into that building ever again,’’ Florida state Sen. Lauren Book (D) told the Miami Herald on Friday.
“The community is ready for that building to come down,” Florida state Sen. Bill Galvano (R) told HuffPost.
Nine hundred of the school’s more than 3,000 students use the building, which is the newest on campus.
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told NPR’s David Greene Friday morning that he plans to work with the lawmakers to secure funds to transform the site of the massacre, but he has yet to announce where students will relocate during construction.
Runcie hopes to have a plan in the next 48 hours for reopening the school.
“It’s been too traumatic for our students to be able to have to go back and relive that tragedy,” he said, adding that Building 12 could also be a “site for evidence” in the trial of the 19-year-old accused shooter.
“[W]e won’t be able to access that building possibly for a number of years,” Runcie said.
Galvano was more hopeful, telling HuffPost there’s likely sufficient evidence against the suspect to allow for the building’s destruction well before the trial’s end.
Speaking with the Miami Herald, Galvano recalled a scene of horror inside the building.
“Everything was strewn across the halls from people running and dodging and there were significant blood splatters on the wall,” he told the outlet. “Like someone took a milk jug and exploded it.”
Rebuilding is estimated to cost around $30 million.
If successful, the move would follow a similar one by officials in Newtown, Connecticut. After a gunman killed 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the community razed the school in 2014 and opened a new one in 2016 on the same grounds.