Nearly five months after the horrific massacre in Newtown, the Sandy Hook Elementary school remains vacant, and yesterday officials voted unanimously to recommend tearing down the building and constructing a new one on its site.
Sandy Hook Elementary's 430 students have been using an old school in the neighboring town of Monroe in the meantime, but the town has been unsure of what to do with the building in which 20 first graders and six teachers were shot to death by gunman Adam Lanza. Some parents originally wanted the town to build a new school on a different site farther removed from the December 14th tragedy. "To me, that is always going to be a site where 26 people were murdered," Laura Roche, a panel member on the 28-person task force assembled to vote on the school's fate, said at a meeting last week. Others were less concerned with tearing the school down: "Call me crazy, call me insensitive, but I would go back to that school tomorrow," Mergim Bajraliu, a high school student with a sibling at Sandy Hook, told the Times.
But after deliberating the options, all 28 task force members voted to recommend tearing the school down and rebuilding it in the same spot, a project that would cost about $57 million and could start by next spring. The panel is not the final word on the project; it will be presented to the school board next, and the rest of the town will have to come to a vote on it eventually. And the rebuilding process will be difficult, both financially and emotionally. "We came together as 28, and I hope we can come together as a community to rebuild the spirit of our community and build the school together," Roche said yesterday. If the proposal is voted on, the school is expected to open in January 2016.