Image: Nickel Mines, Pa.
Matt Rourke  /  AP
Men are seen working Thursday on structures in Nickel Mines, Pa. A new Amish schoolhouse is rising a few hundred yards from the former site of the school where a gunman shot 10 girls in October, killing five of them.
updated 1/18/2007 5:50:59 PM ET 2007-01-18T22:50:59

Members of the community are raising a new Amish schoolhouse a few hundred yards from the spot where a gunman shot five girls to death in October.

The new building will have just one room, like the torn-down school where the massacre took place, but will be more secure, with more sophisticated locks and a location reachable only by a private drive, said John Coldiron, a township official.

An Amish-owned business is building the school, but Coldiron said the entire community is pitching in. The building already had a roof and windows by Thursday, about two weeks after construction began.

“Every elder of the church, they’re all out there working, hammering nails,” Coldiron said.

Some workers are using power tools, even though the Amish shun most modern conveniences.

The old West Nickel Mines Amish School was torn down using heavy equipment 10 days after milk truck driver Charles Carl Roberts IV shot the girls and committed suicide.

The new school is within sight of the old location, which is now an empty field bordered with no-trespassing signs.

It is expected to be finished by the end of February, with classes there beginning in March, said one of two Amish men who were at the site Thursday. Students have been attending classes in a garage since the shooting.

Neighbors said they were glad to see the progress.

“I’m happy that they’re moving on and they can rebuild. But I guess it’s not a surprise considering how they acted when it happened — they forgave right away,” said Jessica Moyer, a mother of two.

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