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The pick up area is shown in front of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, Friday, July 29, 2016, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Sandy Hook Elementary to reopen this year


Today marks four years since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting massacre

Students and staff will return to Sandy Hook Elementary this August, nearly four years after an armed gunman took the lives of 26 people, 20 of which were children.

According to CNN, the rebuilt school bears no resemblance to the building that stood on the same property Dec. 14, 2012, the day the mass shooting took place. 

The only thing that has remained the same is Shelley the turtle, who has been with the school for more than a decade. 

"When students come in that front door, they're going to see their turtle," Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra told CNN.

Keeping something tey love front and center ... makes them feel much more comfortable.
Pat Llodra

The new, two-story school consists of 25 classrooms and two treehouse spaces, according to CNN. 

Security cameras are positioned throughout and the new school has added safety features such as bullet-proof glass, secure doors and visible locks. 

Approximately 70 fourth-graders, who were just kindergartners when the shooting took place in 2012, will be returning to school. They will be joined by more than half of the old school's faculty members as well. 

Llorda said the events of Dec. 14, 2012, will never be forgotten. 

"Let me say unequivocally that we would trade in a minute this beautiful new school for the more familiar and aged Sandy Hook school built in the '50s if we could just change the past," she told CNN. 

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