NEWTOWN, Conn. — After a devastating year of events, the residents of Newtown, Conn., have something to celebrate. On Oct. 5, voters accepted a $49.25 million state appropriation that will be used towards the demolition and rebuild of Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 people were killed in December of last year.
The landslide vote to accept the state money was 4,504 yes to 558 no, and it was the town’s highest voter turnout since the 2008 presidential election, according to NewsTimes.
“As we look to bring home our Sandy Hook School community, it is critical to have a school building that will allow them to stay together,” the Newtown Board of Education said in a letter to The Newtown Bee. “Accepting this funding will allow the town of Newtown to once again be made whole.”
The new school will be built on the same site of the existing building, which has been closed since the school shooting on Dec. 14. Sandy Hook students have been attending nearby Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, Conn., for the interim. The state funding will also be used to purchase two parcels of adjacent land for a new entrance to the school.
By law, the town had to vote on accepting the $49.25 million state appropriation. Voters previously approved the first $750,000 state allocation for predesign work at a town meeting in July. The referendum to accept the $49.25 million was set in August when the Legislative Council also voted unanimously to include the construction project in the town’s five-year capital plan.
The school should be demolished in the next few months with construction beginning in the spring. It is expected to cost between $42 million and $47 million, and is scheduled for completion in 2016. Milford, Mass.-headquartered Consigli Construction is the construction firm working on the project. The project will not require any local tax dollars.
“The people of Newtown decided that building a new Sandy Hook Elementary School is an important step onward for their children and their community,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said in a statement. “This funding is another way the state is continuing the unwavering support our citizens and our government have shown for them since that dark day that still affects us all.”