This story was updated since its first posting to reflect that Newtown has received confirmation of this state bonding initiative.
First Selectman Pat Llodra learned June 5 that state lawmakers were poised to deliver a $50 million bonding initiative to assist Newtown in its efforts to rebuild Sandy Hook School, which has been vacant since 12/14. And her office confirmed Thursday morning that the state had committed to that bonding initiative.
She said the town was in line to receive funding “not to exceed $50 million.” The money is part of a $2 billion state bonding package approved in the final hours of the 2012-13 session.
“This is not a typical school construction bond, but a special (state) bonding provision,” she told The Bee. “And while the proposal is for $50 million, we will try to not have to use all those resources.”
Mrs Llodra said that upon confirmation of the bonding, the town’s next steps would involve initiating the process of demolishing the existing facility, and prepping the school’s existing site for a new facility, which is estimated to cost $46 million.
The first selectman said additional state money could be saved once the town has a good idea about promised materials and outfitting that might be forthcoming from corporate donors and those pledging in-kind services.
Public Building and Site Commission Chairman Bob Mitchell, who is a commercial architect, previously told The Bee that his firm’s many vendors have been lining up for months, anxious to donate specific hardware and other services for the new Sandy Hook School. He said pricy high-end custom lighting equipment and a fully functioning weather station are among the many accessories that have been offered.
Mrs Llodra said she could not thank state officials enough for their support of the community since 12/14, singling out Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt Governor Nancy Wyman and state Office of Policy and Management (OPM) Secretary Ben Barnes, as well as state lawmakers.
She added that while the bond initiative originates at the state level, a local referendum would be held to authorize the town accepting the financial assistance. Besides using state funds to design and build the new school, funds could also be applied to the demolition of the existing building.
“This is huge for us,” she said. “I can’t say enough about the tremendous action on the part of the governor, the lieutenant governor and the legislature, to devote those resources to our community.”