Children on their way to new schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa.
A fresh beginning took place for Amish students in Nickel Pines, Pa., on Monday, with the opening of a new one-room schoolhouse – the new home to those who survived the horrific shooting that last fall killed five of their classmates.
Located a few hundred yards from the rural primary school in Pennsylvania's Amish Country where gunman Charles Carl Roberts opened fire on Oct. 2
, the New Hope Amish School is protected by sophisticated door locks and is accessible only by a private drive, the Associated Press reports.
"For an Amish one-room schoolhouse, this one is spectacular," said Bart Township zoning officer John Coldiron, noting that what the new facility lacks in electricity and phone service, it makes up for with skylights and windows.
The structure, which was built by the entire community, replaces the West Nickel Mines Amish School, which was razed on Oct. 12. It was there that the milk-truck driver shot 10 girls inside the school and then committed suicide as police closed in.
Armed with guns, knives and 600 rounds of ammunition, Roberts, 32, showed up at 10 a.m., after completing his milk route and then carried out his massacre, police said at the time. (Because there was no phone at the school during the rampage, a teacher had to run to a neighboring farm that had a telephone to call 911.)
The costs of the new school's construction were covered in part by the more than $4 million in donations
to the Nickel Mines Accountability Committee, the primary organization collecting donations on behalf of the victims.
Also assisted by the funds that poured in were the schoolgirls injured that fateful day. Four of them have gone back to school. The fifth, a 6-year-old, still requires a feeding tube and is not able to communicate, according to Mike Hart of the Bart Township Fire Department, who is also a committee member.
Roberts's widow, Marie, and their three children, meanwhile, have left their home in the village of Georgetown, about a mile from the shooting, and moved to another community within Lancaster County, says Hart.