Residents in Newtown, Conn., voted to tear down and rebuild Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 people were killed in a mass shooting last December.
More than 4,500 residents voted to accept a nearly $50 million grant from the state to tear down the school and build a new facility nearby. A memorial will be built in place of the school's current site. Unofficial results from the Saturday vote showed 558 residents voted against the grant, according to The Associated Press.
"The people of Newtown decided that building a new Sandy Hook Elementary School is an important step onward for their children and their community," Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said in a statement. "This funding is another way the state is continuing the unwavering support our citizens and our government have shown for them since that dark day that still affects us all."
The Newtown Board of Education thanked voters via Twitter for accepting the grant.
"Thank you also to the Legislature and Governor of Connecticut for the offer," the board said in a tweet. "We accept!"
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy first announced plans to fund the construction of the new school on June 14, the six-month anniversary of the shooting, starting with an allocation of $750,000 for the design of the new building.
Malloy said in a Sept. 24 statement that the state Bond Commission was slated to approve the entire $49.25 million grant, including the first round of construction funding – $3.7 million – at its meeting that Friday.
"The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is never far from our minds. Over the last several months, we've done our best to move forward in a way that honors the memory of those we lost and meets the needs of residents and the surrounding community," Malloy said in the statement.
"Healing from an enormous tragedy like this is never easy. There are no simple answers, and the challenges are many. With strong resolve and a determination to move forward, we can do our best to support the people of Newtown."
Since the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting, Sandy Hook students have been attending classes at a school in Monroe, Conn., a town about 10 miles southeast of Newtown. Officials expect the new school will open in September 2016.