New Amish Schoolhouse To Open Monday, 6 Months After Deadly Rampage

Friday, March 30th 2007, 2:13 pm
By: News On 6

NICKEL MINES, Pa. (AP) _ Amish students who survived a shooting that killed five of their classmates plan to attend school in a new building Monday, exactly six months after the massacre, authorities said.

The one-room schoolhouse has new name _ the New Hope Amish School _ and is more secure, with more sophisticated locks and a location reachable only by a private drive.

``It's just another part of the closure process, I guess, and a new beginning,'' said Mike Hart with the Bart Township Fire Department. He learned of the new name at a meeting last week with members of the Amish board that oversees the school.

Community leaders wanted students in the new building before the school year ends in mid-May, Hart said. Students have been attending classes in a garage since the shooting.

The new school is located within eyesight of the site of the West Nickel Mines Amish School, which was torn down Oct. 12. Ten days earlier, milk truck driver Charles Carl Roberts IV shot 10 girls inside the school and then committed suicide as police closed in.

It was not immediately clear whether the new school had a telephone. During the rampage, a teacher ran to a neighboring farm that had a telephone to call 911.

The Nickel Mines Accountability Committee has collected more than $4 million, part of which paid for construction of the new, partially brick school, Hart said. Donations also have helped care for the five girls who were wounded by Roberts.

``We bought some physical exercise machines, things like that,'' Hart said. ``And there are some hospital bills.''

Four of the five wounded girls have returned to school, but the fifth remains in what Hart called ``a comatose-type condition.'' The 6-year-old girl is fed by a feeding tube and is not able to communicate, he said.

The Nickel Mines Accountability Committee expects to release a statement next week to let donors know they have enough money for expected needs, Hart said.

Roberts' widow, Marie, and their three children have moved from their home in the village of Georgetown, about a mile from the shooting, to another community within Lancaster County, Hart said.

Charles Roberts, apparently tormented by an unconfirmed memory of having molested relatives 20 years earlier, and by the 1997 death of his own infant daughter, shot and killed himself. Amish families attended his burial service.