Demolition of Sandy Hook elementary school begins

Balloons hang on a sign at the entrance to Sandy Hook School on December 15, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. The residents of an idyllic Connecticut town were reeling in horror from the massacre of 20 small children and six adults in one of the worst school shootings in US history. T

Almost a year after the massacre that killed 20 first graders and six staff members, the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut is being demolished. 

Local officials voted to destroy the school in May instead of keeping the building and renovating it, as was done at Columbine High School, the site of another deadly school massacre in 1999.

More from GlobalPost: Sandy Hook school may be demolished 

Robert Mitchell, chairman of the town’s public building and site commission, told the New York Times that the destruction of the school began on Thursday and was slated to be completed by the time the first anniversary of the shooting takes place on December 14. 

The town has decided to crush the bricks and melt down the metal to avoid any possibility of outsiders making souvenirs out of the remnants of the school, and contractors are being made to sign confidentiality agreements so they can't describe the interior of the building. 

“We don’t want to have happen what happened to some of the stuff from 9/11,” said Mitchell to the Times. “It would be embarrassing. The steel will be melted, and nothing identifiable will be leaving the site.”

"We're a very strong community, and we're going to overcome this," said neighbor Bill Clark to the Associated Press. "We're going to move on, and they're going to put up another beautiful school and we're going to move on."

No town event is planned for the December 14th anniversary, writes NPR, although residents will be asked to "pledge an act of kindness to one another."