NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — The public is getting its first look at the rebuilt Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly four years after 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in a mass shooting.
The former Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the massacre occurred, was demolished in 2013. The fate of the 57-year-old building was decided by a 28-member task force of elected officials following a series of public hearings.
The new building was constructed on the same site, but further back on the property.
The two-toned wood facade undulates to mimic the surrounding hills, and panoramic windows along tree branch trim complete the back-to-nature look at the new building, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
The community was given the opportunity Friday to tour the new 86,000 square-foot building.
“We’ve offered the opportunity for the Sandy Hook family, the community at large, and for anybody in the Newtown area to be comfortable with the school…see the school and join hands with us to make sure that the first day, we are all set to go,” Newtown Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Erardi said.
In one classroom, a refrigerator magnet reads “We are Newtown, we choose love.” It’s the only obvious sign of the horror that occurred on the site, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
First Selectman Pat Llodra said the town is still deciding on a permanent memorial.
“That will not be on this site, there is nothing subtle that you missed,” Llodra said.
Erardi says the new school has state-of-the art security measures and was designed using input from the local community.
“The safety and security measures that are in this building are second to none,” Erardi said.
Classroom doors at the gated school have deadbolt locks and the glass is impact resistant. There are also surveillance cameras throughout the building.
The new school year begins on Aug. 29. Of the teachers at the old building, 60 percent are returning, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. Roughly 35 of the 400 student coming to the new school will physically remember attending the old Sandy Hook.
“It’s more like a home to us and a home where students can really grow, mature and be safe,” architect Jay Brotman told CBS2’s Lou Young.
Construction of the new school was completed in 2015. The $50 million project was paid for by a grant from the state.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself. Lanza killed his mother before the school shooting.