Students and parents in Newtown, Conn. are getting an idea of what a new Sandy Hook Elementary School could look like.
The old Sandy Hook School was torn down after the December 2012 shootings that took the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators.
A new school will be built on the same property. More than 200 members of the community came together to share their vision for the new facility.
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New Haven-based architects Svigals + Partners, the firm that is designing the school, presented those designs for the first time to the entire Public Building and Site Commission on Tuesday night.
The architects incorporated nature into the design.
"Having more access to nature on an everyday basis improves the life in the school, it improves the learning environment and it improves us as people," Jay Brotman, of Svigals + Partners, said.
"So far so good ... as far as architecturally, making it a more open school and incorporating nature into the school," said Steve Uhde, a local parent.
He attended attended Sandy Hook Elementary, as did his son.
Barry Svigals, of Svigals + Partners, said the site has been designed "so that the school that we create really could not be any place else and it's resonant with what their aspirations are for the school and what the history of the town has been."
The renderings show a school designed with a Main Street theme, including open-air learning and stone walls to create a sense of safety.
"They really know what Sandy Hook is," Robert Mitchell, chairman of the public building commission, said. "Now it's Newtown, but Sandy Hook is a very special part, and they're really incorporating what we are."
Overall, the commission member said they are pleased.
"We're very much in a natural setting. It's very unusual to have this kind of opportunity. We're surrounded by wetlands and hills and trees," Mitchell said.
The new design takes advantage of those resources but still provides a safe place to go.
"When the children walk into the school, they should go 'Wow what a great place to learn," Mitchell said. "It's an educational experience what we're creating here and we want to enhance that experience."
The architects are still-fine tuning the design and hope the school can open by 2016.
They said the site where the shootings happened are not being touched. It's unclear what will go there now.