Connecticut's State Bond Commission approved $5 million in grants Wednesday to finance planning and design costs of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School building in the wake of the tragedy nearly two years ago, according to Gov. Dannel Malloy.
“The State of Connecticut joins the people of Newtown in their resolve to move forward despite the most challenging of circumstances,” Malloy said. “This project is a necessary part of the recovery process, and will continue to be a priority even after students are attending classes in their new school.”
Newtown residents voted last year to demolish the old building and state lawmakers authorized up to $50 million in funding for the construction of a new school at the 12 Dickinson Drive site, according to the governor's office.
The bonding commission also allocated $7.45 million in Urban Act and "grant-in-aid" funds for the new building, the governor's office said in a news release. The building was demolished in November last year and "abatement of hazardous materials" was also completed, according to the governor's office.
Officials approved architectural design plans for the new elementary school last week, according to the governor's office. Svigals + Partners, the company spearheading the project, said the design weaves in the theme of nature.
The two-story school will span 87,000 square feet and include 23 classrooms for students in pre-K through fourth grade, as well as music, art, library and computer education. The building will also contain a cafeteria, gym and auditorium and will be fully accessible to people with disabilities.
Newtown is overseeing the project and has worked with the state Office of Policy Management and the Department of Administrative Services to procure the bond funding, according to the governor's office.
“The action of the Bonding Commission today serves to remind us in Newtown and all through the state of the generosity and support of the Governor's Office and of virtually every state office and legislator,” First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a statement. “The new Sandy Hook School will become a reality in 2016 because of that generosity. We are humbled and thankful for the continuing kindness of our state partners.”
The site was prepared this month for construction and the new school is expected to open by fall of 2016, according to the governor's office.