FORT HOOD — No soldier will ever again enter the site of the worst mass shooting on a military installation. Building 42003, where Nidal Hasan opened fire on soldiers four years ago as they prepared for deployment, will be torn down, said Brian Dosa, director of Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works.
The building, part of the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, sits in a cluster with four other buildings and all have remained mostly untouched since the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting. The area was fenced off and considered an active crime scene for years, pending the sentencing of the shooter. In August, Hasan was found guilty and sentenced to death.
“The plan now that the court-martial is over, is to take those five buildings and return them to SRP, with the exception of ... Building 42003,” Dosa said. “That one is going to be demolished. The other four — we’ve got a project that’s going to go forward and clean those buildings up and do any work that needs to be done.”
There are a few bullet holes, but otherwise, they are in decent shape, he said.
Shawn Manning, who was shot six times inside Building 42003, said he wants the building demolished.
“I can’t imagine still using it as a building after the fact,” he said. “I hope they do some sort of memorial or something to turn the space into more of a positive space.”
Dosa said there is no current plan on what exactly will replace the demolished building, which sits in the back right corner of the cluster from Battalion Avenue. He is hoping to finalize a contract this month for the demolition and the cleaning of the other four buildings. Since the shooting, none has been touched, with the exception of the one closest to Howze Theater, which was opened up for legal teams during the court-martial.
The other three buildings are exactly as they were the afternoon of Nov. 5, 2009, Dosa said. Vaccines still fill refrigerators, employees’ personal items remain at their desks, and computers sit collecting dust.
Manning said he was carrying his medical records and passport that day, and didn’t get them returned until after the court-martial ended in August. The folder had blood stains.
The five medical buildings of the processing center were open just months before the shooting occurred, Dosa said. Prior to 2009, medical processing was done in Ironhorse Physical Fitness Center. It was returned to the gym after the shooting. The bulk of processing is done in the Soldier’s Dome.
Dosa said he’s been working since the end of the trial to finalize plans for the site, but funding challenges have slowed the process.
Once medical processing returns to the remaining four buildings, Ironhorse gym will be renovated to the Army’s latest standards.
“Of all gyms on post, it’s in the worst shape,” Dosa said. “Parts of it are not even air-conditioned. ... It will probably be easily a year to a year plus to be opened as a physical fitness center again.”
As for the space left behind by Building 42003, Dosa said a building will not be put there. Instead, there are talks of a green space.
“Everything surrounding those buildings and the shooting is very sensitive and (plans are) being vetted with senior leaders,” he said.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.