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Tour of New MacArthur Elementary School


More than four years since flood waters destroyed the old MacArthur Elementary School in Binghamton, a new one is set to open its doors to students next Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, FOX 40 took a tour through the more than $75 million project.

"I can't wait. I'll be right there at the front door and I'm looking forward to it," said MacArthur Principal Maria McIver.

Principal McIver can't wait to have all of her students back under one roof.

"I think the biggest challenge was being the traveling principal. Having half of my staff and students in one building and then the other half in the other building," said McIver.

A flood caused by Tropical Storm Lee destroyed the original elementary school in 2011.

For more than four years, students have been split between the St. Thomas Acquinas and St. Francis of Assissi schools.

Now, new precautions will ensure safety for the building of more than 650 students and staff.

"In a real simplistic way, there's a main bar of the school, that we're standing in now. And it's set up near Vestal Avenue; on the high ground that doesn't flood, above the flood plain. It contains all of the public spaces, offices, art rooms, libraries, cafeterias, gymnasiums. Then there's three classroom wings. The classroom wings are set up on columns above the flood plain," said CEO of Ashley McGraw Architects, the company that worked on designing the MacArthur Project, Ed McGraw.

McIver says after a tour on Monday, students are eager to be back.

"Even today when we had breakfast and lunch, they said, 'Did you see that Mrs. McIver? Did you see that?' And I go, 'Yeah, I was right there don't you remember?' So again, they're really excited and looking forward to the 30th," said McIver.

Third through 5th grade students will start classes in the new school on November 30th. The rest of the students are expected to begin on January 4th.

Here are some of the new design highlights:

-129,000 Square Feet
-Flood Prevention Design
-Point-on-Demand Instant Hot Water
-Ground Source Heat Pump with 90 Geothermal Wells
-Demand Control Ventilation
-Optimizing Daylight (Integration of natural light vs. artificial light)
-Low Energy LED Fixtures
-Solar Panels