5/31 Memorial Committee selects design to honor Virginia Beach mass shooting victims

VIRGINIA BEACH — After months of contemplating the details of a memorial park to honor the victims of the May 31, 2019 mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, a committee has recommended a design.

They picked a concept that includes two granite walls with timelines representing the 12 people who died. It also includes a grove of trees that pays homage to the survivors and a large “hero” tree dedicated to the first responders. Dills Architects with SWA is the designer.

Members of the 5/31 Memorial Committee made their decisions in a closed session at a meeting Wednesday. Dills Architects is based in Virginia Beach, and SWA was the lead designer for the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial, which honors the victims of a mass shooting in Connecticut.

On May 31, 2019, a city employee killed 12 people and wounded four others before police killed the gunman inside Building 2 at the Municipal Center.

The committee had narrowed the design down to two choices last month and opened up a public survey to gather community feedback. They also received input from from family members of the victims.

The survey included questions about the two design concepts that would transform approximately 1.3 acres of city-owned land into a memorial park.

Both concepts aimed to honor the 12 victims in a park setting at the corner of Princess Anne Road and Nimmo Parkway. Dills Architects’ design featured winding, interconnected pathways around multiple spaces for reflection.

The estimated cost of Dills design is $5.8 million, almost $4 million less than the other option.

“As the entry space of the memorial grounds, the Survivor’s Grove greets and invites all visitors into this place of remembrance and healing,” the design plan says.

The committee will discuss their choice with the City Council on Tuesday.

Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, stacy.parker@pilotonline.com


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