The Newtown community got a look at what the new Sandy Hook Elementary will likely look like. Architects unveiled their plans to the public for the first time at Newtown High School.
The Newtown community on Thursday night got a sneak peek at the new Sandy Hook Elementary and what it will look like when it opens in 2016.
Architects unveiled plans for the school, which is being rebuilt after the December 2012 massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead.
Parents shared security concerns during a community forum at Newtown High School on Thursday night and also raised questions about things including energy efficiency.
Architects and town officials addressed those concerns and reassured residents that the new building will be as safe and as welcoming a school as possible.
Plans show a redesign of Dickinson Drive, where the school will be located. A view of the town is visible from the school's main entrance, as well as a depiction of the geographic landscape of "Sandy Hook" and an explanation of how the Housatonic River carved the hook.
"There's still a lot of sentimental issues here and hopefully the design of the building will rectify some of that stuff, so that's a concern," said Harry Waterbury, who lives in Sandy Hook. "It still is a sacred site and you heard some of the discussion that they're worried about the trees where they're actually going to do the site."
Other renderings created by architects Svigals and Partners show the courtyard and main lobby.
"What we tried to do was to resonate with what experience we had, what talents we have as architects with their aspirations and to realize them as much as possible in the school," Barry Svigals, of Svigals and Partners, said.
They want the school to be welcoming, nourishing and a place where kids can feel safe and at home.
"What we're still reacting to when we're having this conversation is the emotional hurdle of what happened to us a year and a half ago," Pat Llodra, Newtown's First Selectwoman, said.
Town officials hope to have the designs finalized by fall. Actual construction won't begin until the spring 2015.