T h e N e w S a n d y H o o k S c h o o l
We welcome your feedback
Please submit a comment or question to the Design and Construction Team using the form below. We will attempt to answer all questions submitted – grouping similar comments together in the FAQ section.
Submit a comment or question here:
Some of the responses below are reprinted from the Town’s Q&A series.
What plans are in place for a public memorial?
The Town has determined that a public memorial is not appropriate to be located on the school grounds. Instead, the Permanent Memorial Commission has been established to plan for a memorial site to be located elsewhere in town. More information on this commission is available at the office for the First Selectman, 203-270-4201.
Will the layout be the same as the old school? Such as the location of the main office, cafeteria, etc.
The design for the new school has a completely different footprint and shape – as you can see from the plans posted on the Design pages of the website.ﾠ Thus, the layout is significantly different than the old school.ﾠ The locations of the main office and other programmatic spaces have been designed with input from the school staff to address desired adjacency relationships between spaces and for zoning the school for after school activities.
What are the historical and projected occupancy levels?
The former school has had varying enrollment levels. In school year 2012-2013 the school had an enrollment of about 460 students in grades K-4, and another 40 children in the half-day Pre-K program. The new school will have a capacity of serving approximately 464 K-4 students, and up to 84 children in the half-day Pre-K program. The design allows most classrooms to be re-assigned to meet fluctuating enrollment over time.
The pictures available at the site give the impression that the building is fairly large with a second floor. What portion of the overall square footage is dedicated to floors above the main level?
The design of the new school has a partial second floor – as you can see from the plans posted on the Design pages of the website. The second floor allows the first floor footprint of the building to be smaller than the former school, and thus gives more room on the site for expanded parking, a dedicated bus loop to address safety concerns, and still provide for adequate space for fields, play grounds and outdoor learning areas.
I am grateful for everything you have done to make this process smooth. The final design is amazing!! Looking forward to seeing the results.
Thanks!ﾠ Check back to see photos during construction.
(In reference to the Courtyard Perspective) There appear to be bars on the windows in this design. This is the first thing I noticed and it seemed disturbing to me. I think the children would be sensitive to this as well. Thank you.
These are not bars, but are vertical sunshades that provide important relief from solar heat gain and contribute to the energy efficiency of the building. However, we share your concern for the appearance of this feature, and even made to-scale mock ups to test how they would affect the view from inside the classrooms. The scale of the rendering is deceiving, as these sunshades are quite different in size from bars. The sunshades are shaped like aerodynamic fins, about 10 inches deep, and are spaced 19.5 inches apart - so they allow plenty of visibility between them and will not appear confining or bar-like from the interior. They will also be colorfully painted, as noted in the rendering, to be a unique and enlivening feature both inside and out.
I just want to say thank you for having this web site. Not much has been said or heard in the last couple of years. I am a teacher at the other Sandy Hook Elementary in Virginia and I have just now brought myself to look at the details. It is just nice to see you moving forward because we all have to move forward. I would be happy to have a new school designed this way our schools are similar.
Thank you for your interest in this project.
Construction / Schedule
When will construction begin?
Site work will begin in October 2014. Actual “shovel in the ground” for the building is scheduled to follow in Spring 2015.
When is the school projected to be finished?
The building and site will be fully completed for school to commence in the Fall of 2016.
How can we get updated information on the progress of the new school and construction photos?
Please check the Construction page of this site where we will post the construction schedule, updates on construction activities, and provide photos.
I would really love to visit the site and see how the project is going. Will there be groundbreaking and dedication events?
A groundbreaking event will likely be scheduled in Spring 2015 when construction of the building begins. A formal dedication will take place when the school opens in 2016.
Does the design conform to the new state standards for school security design?
Yes. The Town has conferred with the State Office of School Facilities to implement relevant recommendations from the School Safety Infrastructure Commission (SSIC) in the design of the new school. The SSIC was formed in early 2013 by the Connecticut legislature to develop guidelines for school security, which were initially released in January 2014, with the latest update on June 27, 2014. As mandated by the SSIC, a School Safety Design Committee was formed to meet with the design team to review a wide range of safety and security concerns in the design of the new school. This work was coordinated with the Newtown School District’s already established Security Committee to ensure consistency with District and Town operational protocols.
Is the project in budget? How can the public be updated on forecasted and actual costs?
The project has had professional cost estimates prepared at each phase of the design and has remained in budget throughout. The site work that was bid and awarded in September 2014 came in under budget. The project costs will continue to be monitored throughout the construction. Budget updates will be presented regularly to the Public Building & Site Commission and Board of Education.
Does the Town of Newtown have to repay the State for the grant of $50 million for the Sandy Hook School project?
No, the Town has no obligation to repay the State of Connecticut for the grant of $50 million to build the new Sandy Hook School.
Is the Town able to spend more than the $50 million grant?
The referendum question sent to the voters seeks approval of an appropriation of $50 million granted by the State for Sandy Hook School. The wording of the referendum question limits the amount that can be spent on the project.
What happens if the project costs more than $50 million?
The Town would have to ask for a special appropriation from the Town for additional funds. The Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Legislative Council, and Public Building and Site Commission have already indicated their commitment to keep spending below the cap. There is no interest on the part of any government agent to exceed the grant provided by the State.
Decision to Build
Why was the decision made to build a new school and not just renovate?
Analysis of the renovate vs. build new by the Advisory Committee showed that costs to renovate this 56 year old building, bring it up to code, eliminate the portables, make it energy efficient, provide necessary safety features, and more, generated a cost almost at the same level of new building construction.
What was the original address of the former school? Will the new building be sited on the exact same location as the former school?
The address of the school will remain as: 12 Dickinson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT. The new school building is a different shape and size than the former school and will not be located in the exact same area of the school site.
Abatement and Demolition of Former School
Why does the Sandy Hook School need to be remediated?
The Sandy Hook school was built in 1956. During that time Asbestos, PCB’s and lead were part of the construction process. While children were not exposed to these materials prior to demolition, by law, these materials must be removed and properly disposed of for public and environmental safety.
What is being done with the remnants from the building?
Hazardous materials will be removed to authorized landfills, as required by health and safety regulations. Concrete and other building materials that can be processed on site will be used to provide site fill material. Some building components are being reduced to construction waste and properly disposed of. Steel will be melted down and recycled.
How long will the process take?
Complete hazardous materials abatement and building demolition are projected to take 9 weeks. Removal, or onsite processing, of all demolition materials is projected for the first week of December.
What precautions have been taken to ensure remnants are not
removed from the site?
All personnel authorized to be on the site have signed non-disclosure agreements. Among other things these agreements prohibit photo or video, and taking anything from the site.
When will demolition be complete?
Demolition and abatement are complete. The site has been graded and stabilized for the winter.
How much did remediation and demolition cost?
Abatement: approximately $1.3 million
Demolition: approximately $850,000
Was any of the steel from the old school recycled and used in the construction of the new school?
During the demolition of the former school, all of the building materials, including the steel, were sorted for appropriate re-cycling or waste, and were sent off-site. None of the recycled materials were re-used in the new school.