Demolition Begins on Sandy Hook School Building

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

The site of one of the worst school shootings in the nation's history will soon be no more as demolition started at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Demolition started Friday on Sandy Hook Elementary School where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults Dec. 14.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School will be completely demolished by the time the first anniversary arrives.
"The process of demolition is incremental, staged precisely, and executed carefully. There is no 'wrecking ball' action; it is rather a piece by piece, section by section removal," Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra said in a statement Thursday.
Last spring, a town task force voted to rebuild a new school in this same spot. A $50 million state grant was accepted by Newtown to level the building. The new school will open on the same site by December 2016.
Beyond a big gate guarded by Newtown police, contractors quietly entered and exited Sandy Hook Elementary School property, including an asbestos and led abatement company.
Construction crews had to sign confidentiality agreements. Public conversations, picture taking and the release of any information by workers is not allowed.
Police placed no parking signs to keep curious onlookers at bay and most everyone respectfully stayed away.
"In general it's an uplifting change for society as a whole," said Alex Dachenhausen, who stopped to see the demolition. "I would hope its a sigh of relief, especially for those impacted."
Erica Lafferty lost her mom, principal Dawn Hochsprung, that awful day.
"I just want it to be over. Feels like a piece of me is in that place," Lafferty said. "I don't know if it will be any better or worse when it's down. But I'm ready for people to stop talking about it. I am ready for those precious little kids to have a new school.
Students, who were supposed to attend Sandy Hook Elementary School this year, have been moved to the former Chalk Hill Middle School in nearby Monroe, which was renovated to resemble Sandy Hook Elementary School following the shooting.
To ensure the safety for everyone coming to and leaving from the school, security checkpoints have been set up for people to pass through. In addition, a security committee was established to collaborate and implemented enhanced security measures.
Constructions crews also are keeping their eye out for a time capsule and dinosaur tracks that came from the state years ago.
As for the report on the Sandy Hook investigation, state police said they have nothing to report and are awaiting approval from the State's Attorney's Office to release it.
The State's Attorney's Office told Eyewitness News that there is "no 'report' to release as of yet" and it is being prepared by State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III.
"What the state police would have at this point is the entire investigation," said Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice officials Friday.
Last March, state police said they should be finished by summer. In May, it was moved to late September, then in August it was changed to late fall.
Top officials including the Gov. Dannel P. Malloy want the report sooner rather than later. He announced his frustration publicly Friday not only for the people of Connecticut, but for the families of the victims.
"If the report is done, the chief state's attorney should release it," Malloy said. "And if it's not, then he should set a date on which it will be released."
Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, who was the chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, said he understands the difficulty of the subject matter and the amount of work involved.
"I also don't want us to lose any time," Jackson said. "I don't want us to lose that sense of urgency around the issue, and those on the commission feel it as well."
The commission was charged with making sure the people of Connecticut never have to deal with such heartbreak again.
Jackson said they need to understand what factored into shooting and "what changes we can make coming out of it."
"How we can learn from this," Jackson said. "So we need what's included in that police and prosecutor's report."
Llodra was not available for comment Friday and said she could speak next week on the demolition.

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