Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Newtown discusses future of Sandy Hook, while Aurora Century 16 prepares to reopen

What should happen to the site of a tragedy? It's been a month since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and yesterday members of that community met to discuss what should become of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 died. Aurora faced that same question after the July 20 Aurora theater shooting.

And now, less than six months after a dozen people died there, the revamped theater will officially reopen on Thursday, January 17, with victims, families, first responders, hospital employees and public officials on hand -- as well as grief counselors. Victims and their family members will be allowed to make advance, private visits tomorrow and Wednesday. And there will be free movies for the community all weekend.

Cinemark, owner of the theater, had used a Facebook poll last fall to poll people about what should be done with the facility: Of the 6,000 reported responses, 70 percent said the theater should stay. But the decision to reopen the theater, smack in the middle of Aurora's centerpiece shopping center, always seemed like a done deal....even if the color scheme has been revamped into something more somber.

The problem of what to do with Sandy Hook Elementary won't be as easy to solve. One of the draws of living in such a small town is a community school; now the kids are being bussed out of the community. A second meeting to discuss the status of the building will be held on Friday, but one thing is certain: This is a lesson plan that no educators can ever be prepared for.

From our archives: "School shooter Laurie Dann only killed one, but her crime was memorable for other reasons, too."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun