STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State plans to renovate the building where former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually molested boys.
University spokesman David La Torre told The Associated Press on Friday that Penn State plans to remodel the football shower and locker room area as a direct result of Sandusky’s crimes. The former defensive coordinator was convicted of assaulting some of his victims in the team shower.
La Torre said renovation plans to the Lasch Football Building were drawn up shortly after Sandusky’s arrest in November. But he said Penn State can’t move forward until all legal proceedings in the case are over.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson said during an earlier news conference only that there was discussion about “modest renovations” between Athletic Director David Joyner and new Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien.
La Torre later told the AP those renovations include the area where the assaults happened and said they are on hold for now.
Reminders of the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal — and the senior school officials accused of covering it up — are all over Penn State’s campus and State College. School officials say they are still weighing how to deal with the other imagery associated with the scandal.
A statue outside Beaver Stadium served as a focal point for mourners of late coach Joe Paterno, but it has turned into a target for critics angered by former FBI director Louis Freeh’s findings that Paterno and other university administrators concealed allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001 to avoid bad publicity.
Paterno’s family said the coach, who died in January of lung cancer, would not have taken part in a cover-up.
But some newspaper columnists and former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden have said the statue should be taken down.
“You go to a Penn State football game and there’s 100,000 people down there and they got that statute and you know doggone well they’ll start talking about Sandusky,” Bowden told the AP. “If it was me, I wouldn’t want to have it brought up every time I walked out on the field.”
The most glaring on-campus reminder might be the Mildred and Louis Lasch building, which was the scene of a 2001 allegation in which a graduate assistant coach said he saw Sandusky abuse a boy in the shower. Authorities said other attacks occurred in it as well.
The Lasch family has no qualms about leaving its name on it, a family member said Friday.
“You don’t build a building and put your name on it expecting that something like this is going to happen, but we have seen a lot of good things happen in that building … and we expect to see a lot of good, honorable things happen in that building in the future,” said Ken Smukler, a grandson of the Laschs, who helped start Penn State football’s booster club in 1959 and donated $1.7 million to build what is billed as one of the finest collegiate football operations facilities in the nation.