Sandy Hook Elementary School will be torn down before the one-year anniversary, after residents of Newtown, Conn. turned out in record numbers to voice their opinion about the building's future.
"I'm very happy that it passed, and passed significantly," Legislative Council Chairman Jeff Capeci told the News-Times. "I had a feeling it would. Now we can move forward with the new school. This is great for the town. We can bring our children home."
Residents of Newton voted 4,504 to 558 to demolish the school where 20 first-grade students and six educators lost their lives after gunman Adam Lanza went on a shooting spree in the school after killing his mother. The children have never returned to the school and instead attend a school in the neighboring town of Monroe.
The city of Monroe has worked hard to make the Sandy Hook students feel welcome and supported as they adjust to the aftermath of the shooting. Yet parents are eager to bring their children back home and a $49 million state appropriation will help spearhead the plan to demolish the old building and erect a new school for students, which will hopefully open in 2016.
"This was another hurdle overcome," Board of Education Chair Debbie Leidlein told the Newtown Bee. "Now we're ready. We've got great plans moving forward to bring our families home."
"This vote is also a big thank you to the state of Connecticut," Vice Chair of Education Laura Roche added.
Officials want the school to be demolished before the December 14 anniversary in order to help bring closure to the families, and all those, affected by the shooting. Until now, the school has been a constant reminder of the pain and loss felt after the shooting, the likes of which had only been seen before, at the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
Shooter Adam Lanza took his own life as first responders approached the school.