Design FAQ's

Please note, this page will be updated frequently as we receive more questions. The latest update to this page was made on Monday, 11/13/17. 


When can I begin submitting a design? You can submit your registration form or your intent to submit a design beginning on 9/22/17. You can upload your proposed design from 10/13/17 through 12/15/17.

How do I submit my design? Please visit the "Submit a Design" link on the left of this screen to access information on how to submit a design. Please note that all designs in Phase I must be submitted digitally following the process outlined in the Guidelines for Selecting a Design (GSD). 

Does the size of my documents matter? You should submit the dwgs as specified in the Guidelines for Selecting a Design (GSD). Your dwg dimensions are up to you, and the required dwgs should fit the 15 mb limit. There is no specification on file specs, although keep in mind that we will be planning to print for review and review on-screen. 

Can I submit multiple designs? Yes, although each design needs its own Unique ID # for submission. If you are submitting multiple designs, we ask that you fill out an Intent to Submit a Design form for each design you plan to submit. 

Who will be reviewing my design? In early January 2018, the Memorial Commission along with an Advisory Panel will sit in a public forum and discuss the designs. This process may take several hours. The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission will be the only group with the ability to vote to move the design to Phase II. There will be other individuals and professionals who evaluate these designs, however the Commission will make the decision on who best to move forward with. 

Can we contact town officials directly? It is best if you contact the commission. By doing so we bring your specific questions to the town officials once and the answers get posted for all to see.

Do I need to design the entire grounds of the memorial? As town land, this property will never be used for any other purpose, and therefore, we think that it is important to consider the entire site. See the GSD for more details.

What is the budget of the construction of this project? There is no budget for the construction of this memorial at this time. The project will be funded by dollars contributed specificially for a memorial soon after 12/14/12 and by The Town of Newtown. It is however crucial that we are being economically cautious with designs and keeping in mind the future maintenance of this project. 

It looks like there are residences/homes surrounding the Memorial site? There are in fact some homes surrounding the site of the memorial. Landscape buffers should separate the memorial from these viewpoints, preserving the privacy of the surrounding neighbors and that of the memorial. 

Who donated the land? The land was contributed to the Town of Newtown by the Boys Social & Athletic Club (SAC) Board of Trustees. 

What will Phase II consist of? After the Memorial Commission reviews designs in Phase I (submitted digitally), we will create a short list of designs that our Commission believes should move forward into Phase II. Those individuals will have time to enhance their design and present in-person to the Commission. The process of Phase II will be communicated to all short listed designers. 


Am I expected to design the entrance / parking for the memorial? Yes, it is expected that you include the entrance and parking, as specified in the GSD. However, we are not dictating where parking should be placed. See the GSD for more design criteria.

There are two driveway easements shown on the base map. Can participants propose that either one or both be used for the memorial project? The main entrance and exit will be the driveway at 32A Riverside Road, as shown on the Property Map on p. 13 of the Guidelines for Submitting a Design. The other driveway (28 A Riverside Road) is owned by Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue and will only be used for emergency or secondary access to the memorial site. Participants should design the 32A driveway as a part of the memorial project, maintaining access to the private residence that currently uses it.

Are we allowed to add elements which may block the adjacent house? Are trees, fencing etc. allowed? Will the resident of that house mind? How about lighting? The owner would welcome screening elements. You are encouraged to design the driveway as you see fit. Lighting will be used for security purposes as plans for memorial hours will be dawn to dusk at this time. 

Will the house at the front of the property be vacated? Potentially, however not confirmed.

Will all this chopped wood and other things be removed from the driveway area? Anything manmade will be removed from the driveway area.

Is the property to the left side of the driveway residential? Yes.


Are we required to have ADA access to the memorial?  It is required to have an accessible route to the main memorial area. We understand the entire grounds cannot be accessible due to the topography. The transition from the first field to the second is pretty steep. Designers can consider all possibilities including the addition of ADA parking spots at the lower level.


Pond Analysis: Please find here.

I have questions regarding the ecology of the ponds and their surroundings. May I contact the environmental consultant directly? Please direct all questions to, and we will forward them in batches to the appropriate recipients. We’ll post the replies in this space.

Do we have to use the ponds as the water feature? You do not have to use the ponds as a water feature.

Are there wetland soils beyond the ponds? No.

Do the pond levels fluctuate? The ponds are intersected with the ground water level. It fluctuates to meet the seasonal condition.

Is there any information on pond ecology? The ponds are 6-8’ deep. They are tannic dystrophic ponds, with a Ph of 6.5. This means that not much aquatic life can survive in the water, although frogs do live there (a great blue heron was spotted there recently). The ponds are comprised of ground water, without a steady inflow or outflow. However, in times of high water, outflow occurs in the swales adjacent to the ponds.

The duckweed growth on the ponds’ surface can be limited by installing equipment to produce motion in the water.

The shore of the eastern pond was evidently stabilized some time ago, with an overflow system installed (now defunct) This work may have been done to deepen the pond for swimming.


Are we required to have toilet facilities on site? No.

Is there public sewer nearby? Yes, on the elementary school side.

Is a sidewalk going to connect Sandy Hook center to the memorial? There are plans to connect Sandy Hook center to the elementary school when funds become available. There are no plans to connect the Memorial to Sandy Hook center by sidewalk. Those projects are seperate from this ask. 


Can we get more detail from the community and the victims’ families’ feedback? Are there any audio tapes to listen to? No, the feedback data summarized in our Design Guidelines document is what is available. Pease feel free however to send any questions you may have and we will be glad to try and answer them.


There is an existing trail connecting the site to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Should this be part of a proposed memorial design? This option is up to each designer. While some SHES teachers have requested that this trail be restored, the question of whether to continue having it goes beyond the current scope of this project and would most likely end up as a subject for discussion by school officials and families.

Will there be pedestrian access to this site, or will it be limited to vehicular access? Access by most people will be by car. However, there could potentially be trail access from Treadwell Park and Sandy Hook Elementary School (see question above). The scope of that is separate from this ask. 


Can we return to the site? We need to visit more than this one time. Yes of course. Please contact the Commission so we may arrange an appointment. Please note you are not allowed to visit unaccompanied.

Can we park by the back of the NUSAR garage? Please note the NUSAR garage entry and driveway must be clear at all times. When visiting the site please park on the first flat area of the memorial site.

Can I visit the memorial site? There are multiple site-walks that can be scheduled with members of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission. Should you or a representative not be able to attend one of these walkthrough's we are open to scheduling more. Please email us at to do so. No individual or group should access the site grounds without an escort by the Memorial Commission or a Town of Newtown representative. 

Please email us if you can attend any of the dates and times outlined on the Site Visit link.