NEWTOWN, Conn., May 11 (UPI) -- Officials in Newtown, Conn., say they have decided to build a new school on the site where 20 students and six adults died in a mass shooting in December.
A 28-member task force of city leaders unanimously voted to replace Sandy Hook Elementary School at a cost of almost $60 million, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Friday.
Rob Sibley, Newtown's deputy planning director, said the decision "opens the door to a path toward healing."
"It doesn't detract from the grief we feel on a daily basis," he added.
The school board must now come up with specifications for the building and figure out how to pay for it. Residents will vote on the plans in a referendum.
The new school will be larger than the current 69,000-square-foot building, which has been shuttered and fenced since the shooting. Construction is expected to take about 19 months.
Rebuilding is expected to cost between $56.5 million and $56.7 million, depending on design. Renovation of the existing school had been estimated at $47.7 million because the building would have to be upgraded to meet current building codes.