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Public access barred at Newtown school demolition

In this Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, file photo provided by the Newtown Bee, a police officer leads two women and a child from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. The Associated Press is challenging the refusal by investigators to release the 911 tapes from the Dec. 14 shooting. A hearing officer for Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission has recommended the tapes be released, and the full commission is meeting Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, to consider the case. (Associated Press file photo)
In this Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, file photo provided by the Newtown Bee, a police officer leads two women and a child from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. The Associated Press is challenging the refusal by investigators to release the 911 tapes from the Dec. 14 shooting. A hearing officer for Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission has recommended the tapes be released, and the full commission is meeting Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, to consider the case. (Associated Press file photo)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 08:23 am
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Contractors demolishing Sandy Hook Elementary School are being required to sign confidentiality agreements forbidding public discussion of the site, photographs or disclosure of any information about the building where 26 people were fatally shot last December.Selectman Will Rodgers said officials want to protect the Newtown school where the 20 children and six educators were killed, The News-Times reported.

"It's a very sensitive topic," he said Monday. "We want it to be handled in a respectful way."

Project manager Consigli Construction has barricaded the property and intends to screen the perimeter to prevent onlookers from taking photographs. Full-time security guards will ensure the site is not disturbed.

Families of the victims and school staff visited the site, but public access is barred.

The precautions exceed those at other construction sites, town officials said.

Jim Juliano, a member of the Public Building and Site Commission, said he initially considered whether the heightened precautions might be excessive. But he believes extra vigilance is needed to shield Sandy Hook families and the community from exploitation.

Rodgers said the goal is to ensure the project is managed properly without interference from onlookers or the infliction of more pain on the community.

"Obviously, workers need access to the site, but inasmuch as we have put restrictions on our citizens, we don't really want those who are there somehow releasing information or recounting impressions of the site, given we are trying to move on, so to speak," Rodgers said.

Demolition is set to begin next week and be finished before the Dec. 14 anniversary of the shootings. A new school is expected to open by December 2016. Town voters last month accepted a state grant of $49.3 million to demolish the school and build a new one.

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