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Town Releases Third Q&A In Review Of SHS Building Project

The Town of Newtown has released another “Question & Answer” document to review the next steps in the Sandy Hook Elementary School building project.

The document is the third of a series, and the town also announced it will continue to provide updates throughout the rebuilding process.

In May, the Sandy Hook School Task Force voted to recommend to the Newtown Board of Education that the current Sandy Hook School building be removed and a new elementary school be built on a modified version of the current site.

According to the town, a series of Question & Answer documents will be released to ensure the community is informed throughout the rebuilding process.

 What are the next steps in the Sandy Hook School building project?

We are currently in the process of selecting the lead professionals for the project, including an architect and construction manager, and other professionals as well: Interviews and selection of professionals; hazmat/abatement; and town meetings/referendums as needed.

Why is the town considering land purchase for the new SHS building project?

The project plan calls for the development of a new access road. The town is seeking to purchase the land needed for that road.

What government or local process is needed to approve the land purchase?

According to our charter, the Legislative Council is authorized for the purchase of land for municipal purposes provided an appropriation for such has been approved. The special appropriation regulations establish a limit of $500,000 for action to be taken without a town meeting. Special appropriation requests for more than $10 million will go to referendum.

The Board of Selectmen is planning a town meeting for consideration of the $750,000 provided by the State of Connecticut. Why?

The $750,000 grant is part of the overall $50 million funding for the school project but is a separate action of the State of Connecticut to provide more immediate resources so that Newtown may proceed with design and engineering preparatory work. By charter, the Legislative Council calls for a town meeting to approve an appropriation in excess of $500,000. So, a town meeting will be held on July 23 to act on this special appropriation.

Since we are receiving the money from the state via a bonding package, does the town still have to vote in a referendum?

Yes, even though there is no local tax levy, the town will hold a referendum to authorize the appropriation per our Charter. The State of Connecticut expects to complete the bonding action for the $50 million sometime in August/September. When that state action is complete, the Legislative Council will call for a referendum to approve the appropriation.

I have read on social media that the town has received offers for large donations from corporations and individuals. How would these funds be used?

We have not received any offers by corporations or individuals to rebuild the Sandy Hook School. However, we have received some generous offers of goods and services related to the new school. These offers are documented and will be evaluated by the Public Building & Site Commission and incorporated into the project as much as possible. Use of donated items will help to offset any funds received from the state as part of the bonding package.

When will the school be demolished?

Depending on the hazmat results and any required abatement, demolition is currently slated for mid-November.

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