The view from the second floor is still the same, but the view inside was vastly different on Friday, as Virginia Tech opened the front wing of Norris Hall.
Nearly two years after Seung-Hui Cho took 32 lives in the building, Norris Hall reopened, a product of the ideas of Jerzy Nowak and numerous other April 16 families.
President Charles Steger was the first to speak at a ceremony in the new version of Room 209 in Norris Hall.
"We believe that the reopening of this facility will help move the university forward while reflecting and always remembering the tragedy that occurred on the fateful day of April 16," Steger said.
Steger said Norris Hall would always be tied to the events on April 16.
"The day's activities and those that will follow for many decades to come will serve and respect the memories of those lost in the terrible tragedy," Steger said.
It will house the Center for Peace Studies and the department of engineering science and mechanics.
Nowak, whose wife Jocelyn Couture-Nowak was killed in Norris Hall, has left the horticulture department and will now serve as the head of the Center for Peace Studies.
"Securing a safe school environment should be among the most fundamental obligations of any society," Nowak said. "Its socio-economic well-being relies on the knowledge, skills and creativity from the next generation we raise."
The Center for Peace Studies will also be working with a newly formed club, Students for Non-Violence. Student officers were in attendance.
Head of the department of engineering science and mechanics Ishwar Puri will also operate out of the new wing. He said the new wing was a product of a collective effort.
"It is a story about community, because we came together through an open process," Puri said. "We agreed, we disagreed, and then we came together so that we could move forward."
Provost Mark McNamee held meetings with victims, their families, faculty and staff to create a vision for the building.
"The openness with which we invited ideas demonstrated how universities work at their finest," McNamee said.
Steger said the school wanted to see all ideas for the space.
"We sought and received proposals for future uses from the entire university community, including the families, friends of the victims of the tragedy," Steger said. "Many people across the university and from the extended Virginia Tech community shared their thoughts today."
Many ideas were proposed, but Steger said the building needed to be utilized.
"Because of the tragedy of April 16 and because we knew that it would be used differently from that day forward, we knew that it could never be used again for the general purpose classrooms that were employed at the time," Steger said.
Puri said he looks forward to the new life of Norris Hall.
"So it is with great pride that I stand in front of you today," Puri said. "It's been a somber two years. But you know what? Every day, it gets less somber. And every day, the pride and joy of working and serving becomes deeper and deeper. Because the ultimate thing to remember was that we lost colleagues on April 16, 2007. We lost them as they were serving. They were serving our students. We lost students, who died as they were learning to serve society."