Newtown will build a new Sandy Hook Elementary School at existing site

NEWTOWN, Conn. — A new Sandy Hook Elementary School building will be built at the site of the existing school, a task force of town leaders decided Friday night.

The school, at a cost of almost $60 million, will take the place of the old building, where a mass shooting Dec. 14 took the lives of 26 children and educators.

The committee of town leaders, meeting for the fifth time, made its decision through a unanimous voice vote. The group was charged with deciding whether to rebuild or extensively renovate the existing school, or build a new school elsewhere.

“It’s a gut wrenching decision,” said Selectman James Gaston Sr.

The next steps will include having the board of education draft education specifications for the new elementary school and figuring out how to pay for it. Funding sources will include substantial contributions from the state and perhaps the federal government.

Rebuilding at the existing site could cost either $56.5 million or $56.7 million, depending on site design, according to a 187-page document on the town’s website.

The more expensive rebuilding option involves an entry on Crestwood Drive and an exit on Dickinson Drive, while the less expensive option would have an entry and exit on Crestwood Drive.

The option to renovate the existing school was estimated to cost $47.5 million.

Earlier Friday evening, the committee eliminated two recently considered options: Moving the Sandy Hook Elementary students into Reed Intermediate School and building a new elementary school at the Fairfield Hills campus, once the site of a state mental hospital but now the site of the Newtown Municipal Center.

During its deliberations, the committee had narrowed a list of 40 possible sites to five options, and then ostensibly to two: 12 Riverside Road, the current location of the school, and 28 Riverside Road, known as the Sandy Hook Athletic Club Field. The Reed School and Fairfield Hills options were brought up at the last committee meeting May 3.