Preliminary plans for a new Sandy Hook Elementary School could be decided tonight.
A 28-member task force, which includes the town's three selectmen and the school board, meets at 7 p.m. in the Newtown Municipal Center to discuss two possible sites for the school, including renovation of the existing school. The two sites are 12 Riverside Road (the current school location) and 28 Riverside Road (also known as SAC field). Both call for a new access road and if the current location is chosen, the task force will consider whether to renovate the existing school or build a new one.
The new school, estimated to cost between $47.5 million and $65.4 million, is meant to be substantially different than the school where 20 children and six educators were killed in a schooting on Dec. 14.
The Sandy Hook Building Task Force has met on Friday nights for weeks, directed by a consultant and town planners in a process to select Newtown sites suitable for the elementary school. The existing Sandy Hook school has been shuttered since the Dec. 14, and children are in classes at Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe which was vacant and unused before the shooting.
Newtown's planning officials and volunteer professionals from The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation examined every lot in Newtown to identify places a school could be built. The 40 potential sites were categorized in tiers, with five sites in the top tier, meaning they have the most ideal conditions.
Anyone interested in the process can scan a massive book detailing all the sites, which is available as a 187-page downloadable document on the town website, newtown-ct.gov.
If the existing school site is chosen, the options include demolishing two sides of the square-shaped building, leaving an L-shape that could be redesigned as part of a new school. Other options include demolishing the existing building altogether and rebuilding and moving entrances and exits.
The task force does not decide tonight, it plans to meet again May 10.