Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 8:46:07 AM

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End of an Era: MacArthur Demolition Begins

(Source: Jeremy Donovan)

"I think it's a word that's going to be said from every house from center city to the hills of the southside, and that word is 'finally!'" said Sherry Lasowski, former MacArthur teacher.

Finally, after two years of cleanup following the flood, finally, after countless board meetings and design meetings, and finally, after a public referendum passed in April, the old MacArthur is coming down.

Demolition on the school officially began Tuesday marking the first major step in the rebuilding process.  Demolition is expected to take 6-8 weeks with construction of the new building beginning in January.

"The new MacArthur will be the jewel of the southside," said Marion Martinez, Superintendent of Binghamton City School District.

The new school is designed with the future in mind, energy efficient and most importantly, elevated to prevent future flooding.  So, hopefully students and faculty will never have to be separated again.

"There's a lot people who are anxious to get back and have their kids back together, have their teachers back together.  So, this is the first real step of something the public can see," said Maura Kammerman, Binghamton City School Board President.

The new MacArthur will be a symbol of the long road traveled since the flood, while the old MacArthur, while it still stands, will be a symbol of the memories the building shared.  Many people at the ceremony brought home a brick, as a symbol and a reminder of those memories.

"This would be a tangible object to see, to remind you of that it's a physical thing you can touch.  It's part of it, and that way a part of the old MacArthur will always be with me," said Carol Hawley, neighbor, former parent and employee.

"And keep those memories, but be the historians, be the storytellers, share those memories, so that people don't forget this wonderful building," Lasowksi said.

While the last two years have been long, the next two will be filled with excitement as the new MacArthur is finally set to open for fall 2015.

"I look forward to the day when the children come up the sidewalk for the first time, because I know that MacArthur School will reach out and embrace them, and our family will be back together, and our children will finally be home, where they belong," Lasowki said.

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