The Connecticut town that endured one of the worst school shootings in American history in 2012 has decided on a design for its new elementary school, which will replace the now-demolished site of the mass shooting with a structure built to be serene, safe and cost-effective.
The new building plan in Newtown, Conn., from the architecture firm Svigals + Partners, portrays a building set further back into the woods, away from street traffic, the New York Times reports. The design was nicknamed “Main Street” for its curving façade and main hallway intended to evoke outstretched arms that “reach out and embrace the children as they come in,” firm-founder Barry Svigals said. Corridors extending off the main hallway end in elevated tree-house-like rooms where children can collaborate or take a moment to reflect alone, the Times reports. The design was conceived to ensure views of the surrounding woods and lots of natural light.
When the new building finally welcomes schoolchildren back to class in what planners estimate will be two-and-a-half years, one last relic of the old building, where Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults in December 2012 before taking his own life, will remain: the old Sandy Hook Elementary flag pole.
The cost of the new structure—which one member of the building commission said was the most cost-efficient of the three final proposals considered—will be covered by $50 million in bonds raised by the state.