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First Day at the New Owego Elementary School

By Jason Weinstein.
"There's no place like home."

About 500 students got to enjoy their brand new home today with the opening of the new Owego Elementary School. And it made a strong first impression.

"I thought, 'Oooh, what am I going to do? Hmm, what's my classroom going to look like," said 4th-Grade Student Zoe Slater.

"It's exciting. It's humongous. I love it," said 5th-Grade Student Gabe Snyder.

"Kindergarten kids, the 1st-grade kids, 2nd-grade, 3rd-grade, 4th-grade (kids) have never gone to school in their home town," said Owego-Apalachin School Superintendent Bill Russell.

Many students went to Linnaeus West Elementary in Endicott during the more than four years between when the flood of 2011 destroyed the old elementary school and today.

"If you know the route over there you go down Day Hollow Road. That's a hilly, twisty road, especially in the Winter. For some kids it's as much as an hour and a quarter on the bus each way," said Russell.

"My mom would drop me off and then I had to ride a bus for an hour," said 5th-Grade Student Cameron Pichany.

For many the wait for this $70 million building was worth it.

"I was pretty excited. My sister thinks it's bigger than the high school," said 4th-Grade Student Ralph Johnson.

This building is set two-and-a-half feet above the highest level of the floodplain.

"This building was designed to last for 60, 70, 80 years. The technology in it, the quality of the construction will serve this community beautifully for a very, very long time," said Russell.

"We've been able to get past that flood and have a brand new building and have a fresh, new start in Owego again," said Slater.

State and Federal money covered the majority of the cost of the new school. There will be an open house for parents and families of students on January 13th.