Pulse Nightclub, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, will soon become a permanent memorial and museum to commemorate both the survivors and lives lost, its owner, Barbara Poma, announced said earlier this week. The initiative will be funded by the onePULSE foundation, a non-profit organization where Poma serves as executive director and CEO.
“Today, I’m able to share with you what I believe is news that will help in our mission of healing,” Poma said at a press gathering on Thursday. “It isn’t easy for me to stand on this site. What began as a place for fun and joy is now sacred ground.”
Prior to the shooting on June 12, 2016, Pulse operated as a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The club was capping off its “Latin Night” when the shooter, Omar Mateen, opened fire on remaining club-goers. Shortly after the shooting, Mateen swore allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call. Forty-nine people were killed and 68 were injured as a result of the attack.
Today, the site of the nightclub has developed into a makeshift memorial filled with colorful artwork, flowers, and vigils. According to The Orlando Sentinel, it is unclear whether the onePULSE foundation plans to preserve the integrity of the original building, which is currently boarded up, or design a new structure for the permanent memorial. While many construction details have yet to be made public, the foundation said Pulse will no longer exist as a nightclub.