BrightView installs garden to honor Sandy Hook victims

BrightView installs garden to honor Sandy Hook victims

A Sandy Hook Memorial and Reflection Garden was installed at Southern Connecticut State University.

Photo courtesy of BrightView

BrightView partnered with Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) to help construct a Remembrance Garden, featuring an SCSU Alumnae Sandy Hook Memorial to honor the memory of the four alumni educators who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Carlene Barnes, a 2013 graduate at SCSU, created a conceptual design for the memorial that was selected in a juried competition. The design combines art and physical spaces, bringing visitors together and featuring delta-shaped stones symbolizing change and underscoring the belief that supporting others begins with small steps.

Barnes and the SCSU staff teamed with Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio in Vermont to complete the design. The garden features a sculpture lined with four fiber-optic lighting strands representing the four alumnae lost during the Sandy Hook massacre and the light they brought into the world.

BrightView helped the university bring the design to life and install the Remembrance Garden, a part of a larger SCSU Reflection Garden.

“There were many hands involved to make this project a reality and we were honored to be a part of it,” said Justin Wolf, branch manager at BrightView. “We began with planning conversations and then moved to prepping the site, helping to manage the project and completing hardscape for what is now the garden’s Area of Compassion.”

Wolf and his team joined with several community partners to provide donated materials and philanthropic support over an eight-month process that included open dialogues with students, faculty and staff.

“We could not have had a better or more dedicated partner than BrightView, who performed the work with such care,” said Dr. William Faraclas, faculty member in the Department of Public Health and co-lead of the Reflection Garden Council. “It was clear they understood the significance of the garden and embraced the spirit of this project.”

Carpentry students from nearby Eli Whitney Technical High School built a curved bench to face the wooden sculpture. The sculpture itself was designed by artists Rich Duca and Meredith Bergmann and constructed at Brooklin Boat Yard in Maine.

“The garden creates a setting of peace and tranquility with a beautiful wooden sculpture that reminds us of our alumnae’s courage and sacrifice,” said Joe Bertolino, SCSU President. “This space will serve as a place of inspiration and motivation to break the cycle of violence and build a better society for generations to come.”

Many SCSU faculty are brainstorming ways to incorporate the garden into their curriculum. The garden will serve as a space for personal reflection and remembrance as well as for scholarly and creative activities.

“The Remembrance Garden, created with the indispensable help of Justin Wolf, Nick Vincenzo and the rest of the BrightView team, is going to be a center of activity on our campus,” Faraclas said.

Click here to watch drone footage of the garden's construction.