"Details such as light fixtures or a tile pattern can certainly be permanently imprinted in a person's memory when it's associated with such a life-threatening tragedy," said Manges.
At Northern Illinois University, where the most recent school shooting took place just a few months ago, the future of Cole Hall was eventually decided after much debate. Like Columbine, community members initially wanted the building razed, but later decided on a renovation.
"The faculty and students came to a consensus that they absolutely did not want to go back in that building to take or teach classes in its present form," said Melanie Magara, the assistant vice president for public affairs at the university.
Since the shootings, Cole Hall has remained closed and its remodeling is on hold until the public university receives state funding for the construction.
Magara told ABCNews.com that of the two lecture halls that are housed in Cole Hall one will remain a classroom and the other – the one where the shooting took place – will be demolished and the area will be put to use for something unrelated to coursework.
The façade will also change, said Magara, who said that many students find it difficult to even walk by the building.
"I hope these renovations will help with the moving on and the coping," said Magara. "We have students who can't even bring themselves to walk by the place."
The pain of these agonizing events also brings a determination that they never happen again.
The area at Virginia Tech where the killings occured will house a new Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, a program begun by the university following the shootings.