A little over 20 years since the massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School claimed 13 lives and injured another 21, public school officials in the district are said to be considering a plan that would see the school getting demolished and another one getting constructed in its place.
According to CNN, Jason Glass, the superintendent of Jefferson County public schools, announced the plan in a letter addressed to Columbine staff, students, parents, and members of the surrounding Denver suburb of Littleton, explaining many still expressed a "morbid fascination" with the school.
"The tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 serves as a point of origin for this contagion of school shootings," Glass wrote. "School shooters refer to and study the Columbine shooting as a macabre source of inspiration and motivation."
Indeed, in an examination of 12 major shootings in the US in the following eight years after Columbine, it was found that in eight the shooters "made explicit reference to [Eric] Harris and [Dylan] Klebold," the perpetrators of the 1999 incident. And its influence has been felt long since as well.
It was around the time of the 20th anniversary that an 18-year-old Florida woman was the subject of an extensive manhunt by law enforcement officials after she threatened to reenact the events of the Columbine massacre. She shot herself to death before she was caught.
In 2010, a similar incident saw 29-year-old twin sisters from Australia travel all the way to Colorado and attempt to kill themselves in a gun range as part of a suicide pact. One of them survived and among their belongings, police found a photocopy of a news magazine cover depicting the Columbine killers and their victims.
In an investigation, it was determined that "at least 17 attacks and another 36 alleged plots or serious threats against schools since the assault on Columbine High School can be tied to the 1999 massacre."
"Since the morbid fascination with Columbine has been increasing over the years, rather than dissipating, we believe it is time for our community to consider this option for the existing Columbine building," Glass explained, adding that a record number of individuals had tried to enter the school illegally or trespass on the property this year.
Glass' proposal calls for placing a bond measure seeking $60 million to $70 million on a future ballot to pay for the demolition of the existing school and the construction of a new one to replace it just west of the current site.
The new school would still be called Columbine High School to honor the "pride and spirit the community has with the name," and the school mascot and the colors would similarly remain unchanged. The 64-year-old Frank DeAngelis, who was the principal of the school at the time, has expressed his support for the plan. "Twenty years ago, we never imagined that there would be people so infatuated with this tragedy years later," he said ."Maybe moving the physical plant would alleviate some of the issues."