Five years after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the new Sandy Hook Elementary School building shows off a seamless blend of security and artfulness.
- In 2016, Sandy Hook Elementary reopened in a brand-new building.
- Designed by Svigals + Partners Architects, the campus is a high-tech security marvel.
- But it's also beautifully designed in an effort give students a fun place to learn.
Don't let the wavy lines and colorful blinds fool you: When it comes to security, the new Sandy Hook Elementary School building is anything but whimsical.
It's been five years to the day since a gunman killed 20 children and 6 staff members at the Newtown, Connecticut school. That's five years of mourning, recovery, and rebuilding efforts.
The original Sandy Hook building was torn down to honor those who died, and the new school opened to students in September 2016. It features a winding entrance tucked away from the main road, myriad surveillance cameras, and floor-to-ceiling windows. But thanks to a partnership with design group Svigals + Partners Architects, the school doesn't look like the secure fortress it actually is.
It's actually quite lovely.
"As architects, we aspire to opportunities like this, to be involved in the design of a building like the Sandy Hook School, a meaningful and symbolic building that truly serves a community on so many levels," Jay Brotman, managing partner at Svigals + Partners Architects, told Curbed.
When parents and buses begin to drop kids off, they pass through multiple security checkpoints on the way to the entrance. They also pass by several bioswales, which are angled landscapes that direct storm run-off and keep outside people at a distance. At the entrance, there are designated drop-off locations and colorful metal blinds by the windows.
Inside the school, an atrium with 20-foot-high aluminum trees contains equally tall windows that let school staff keep an eye on anyone that approaches the school. Classrooms feature reinforced walls and bullet-resistant windows beside the doors.
"In terms of security, the measures here are second to none," Joseph Erardi Jr., the superintendent of Newtown schools, told the New York Times. He declined to divulge all the measures, however, in order to preserve their effectiveness.
The entire project, a three-winged structure spanning nearly 87,000 square feet, cost $50 million. Kids from kindergarten to 4th grade attend the school. Those who survived the 2012 massacre have since moved on to the local upper school, Reed Intermediate.
But they can take solace in the fact the new Sandy Hook Elementary campus will protect all future students in what is essentially a very safe work of art.