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The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission (SHPMC) met on Thursday, November 9, at the Newtown Municipal Center to give updates on how the registration process for designers is going and to discuss how Phase 1 of reviewing the design submissions will be conducted.
SHPMC Chair Kyle Lyddy shared with the commission that, as of the meeting, they have already received a total of 146 registrations from people all around the world who intend to submit a memorial design.
“The registrations represent 17 states and 18 countries currently; 75 percent of the submissions are from the United States and 50 percent are from Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts, so very localized,” Mr Lyddy explained.
So far, though, there have not been any completed designs submitted. However, those interested in submitting a design have until December 15 to do so digitally through the SHPMC website, sandyhookpermanentmemorial.com.
Once someone submits a registration form online, they are given a unique identification number, and are required to do a guided site walk of the permanent memorial property with a commission member present.
SHPMC member Dan Krauss has volunteered his time to participate in nearly all of the site walks with prospective designers thus far, and relayed to the commission he has heard a great deal of positive feedback.
“People have been very receptive. A lot of people have been very humbled to be part of the process. I’ve heard that from a lot of people that they feel a connection and are really glad to participate in whatever way they can,” Mr Krauss said.
He added that another prevalent comment he has received from potential designers is that the request for proposal (RFP) the commission created was so well done that it helped answer many of the questions the designers had.
Mr Lyddy estimates that the commission has done about 100 guided site walks for those who have registered to submit a design. That total number includes walks that had multiple designers present and follow-up visits to the site.
Those who cannot visit Newtown for the site walk before the design submission deadline on December 15 are asked to go on the SHPMC website to view multiple photos, a drone video, and a digital walking tour, the latter of which was posted following the meeting and has already been viewed more than 100 times.
Commission members also took the time to discuss the possibility of pushing back the deadline to submit a design in order to accommodate more site walks, but concluded it was not necessary and would continue as planned.
Phase 1 Evaluation Process
Looking ahead to the next stage of the permanent memorial selection process, the commission discussed what it is calling “Phase 1” and how it is going to be broken down into two parts.
Phase 1A will be when the SHPMC and its advisory panel of experts will review all the design submissions anonymously using the unique ID.
This process is expected to be completed in four meetings that will take place on January 3, 4, 10, and 11.
The commission’s goal is to use that time to compile feedback and narrow down the submissions to a manageable number, which currently is set at 12 submissions.
After Phase 1A is completed, the commission will move onto Phase 1B.
During the second part of the process, the commission will no longer use just the designer’s unique ID and will instead reveal more specific information like the designer’s biography.
On February 3, as well as potentially a few other dates in February that are yet to be determined, the SHPMC commission and its advisory panel will invite 12/14 families and the community to be involved in giving feedback on the 12 designs.
January 30 and February 1 will also be designated specifically for families affected by 12/14 to view the designs, but will be done in a private manner.
The commission plans to have its regularly scheduled meeting on February 8 to continue to review and discuss the top 12 submissions.
Also at the November 9 meeting, the SHPMC was considering a number of potential places to display the design submissions for viewing, but did not select a specific location.
The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has canceled its regularly scheduled December meeting. The next public meeting will be on January 3. For more information, visit sandyhookpermanentmemorial.com or e-mail the commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.