Gov. Malloy Stops Funding for Under-Budget Sandy Hook Project

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Construction on the new Sandy Hook Elementary is on schedule and about $2.3 million under the project’s original $50 million budget. As such, Gov. Dannel Malloy decided to include the savings in a plan for more than $350 million in bond payment cuts — even though the project won’t be officially completed for three to four months.

The 87,000-square-foot Sandy Hook Elementary has been under construction since 2014 and is being built on the same site of the previous school, where 26 people were killed in a tragic shooting in December 2012. Milford, Mass.-headquartered Consigli Construction Co. is serving as the construction manager on the project, while New Haven, Conn.-based Svigal + Partners is serving as the architect. The project is scheduled for completion in June in time for the 2016-2017 school year.

Gov. Malloy said in a press conference on March 16 that the public should not see the payment cut as a slight to the school or town of Newtown. He said that his administration has been in touch with the town throughout the construction process and is well aware of the school’s progress.

Sen. Tony Hwang (R, Fairfield), who represents Newtown, said he believes that the state should continue with the payments to uphold its part of the deal. “This project is not complete and until it’s completed we want to be sure that the money is there to ensure proper compliance and proper construction completion, so it really was a frustrating exercise,” Hwang told NBC Connecticut.

Patricia Llodra, Newtown’s first selectman, however, said that the Gov. Malloy’s decision did not come as a surprise. Llodra believes that if there are unexpected financial issues, the state will address them, reported NBC Connecticut.

Gov. Malloy said at the March 16 press conference that taxpayers should be happy with the decision, adding that, “when the cost of completion is less than the initial expectation, we shouldn’t be spending that money.”

The school will feature three classroom wings, two of which are two stories in height and will overlook central courtyards. Breakout spaces in the form of “treehouses” will create alternative learning environments on the second floor. The curved entrance is also designed to leave the impression of a community embrace, with the entire building constructed to make connections with the natural landscape surrounding it. The main floor of the building is designed as a wide thoroughfare that connects the three separate wings of the school. The project will also include a new soccer and ball field.

The school’s 430 students are currently attending class at the former Chalk Hill Middle School in neighboring Monroe, Conn.