Binghamton school officials are ready for the public to weigh in on their plans for a new MacArthur Elementary.
The school has been closed since it was flooded in September 2011. The district has a preliminary design for its $77.8 million project. The existing structure would be demolished. A portion of the new school containing the gym, cafeteria, library and offices would be built closer to Vestal Ave and be partially protected by a flood wall. The new MacArthur will have three classroom wings containing kindergarten and 1st grade, 2nd and 3rd grade, and 4th and 5th, similar to the old school. However, those wings will now be suspended on columns above the 500 year flood plain.
Assistant Superintendent for Administration Karry Mullins says students and teachers are eager to move out of their temporary locations and into the new school. Karry Mullins says, "There's only 1 or 2 buildings built per year in New York State. So, it's really exciting to be a part of that. And to have something that will be here for a very long time."
Of the $77 million project, the local share is about $2.9 million. That includes a portion of the new geothermal heating and cooling system, which FEMA won't cover, and interest on short term borrowing because FEMA will only reimburse the district once the building is complete. If voters approve the spending plan, final designs will be completed for state approval and demolition of the old school would begin in the Fall. Construction would start next January with the goal of completing the new facility by Fall of 2015.
A public hearing on the new school design is scheduled for Monday April 8th at 7 pm at the district offices in the Columbus School on Hawley Street. The referendum is planned for the following Monday, April 15th from 11 to 8 at normal school polling places. Because the short term borrowing will exceed the district's debt limit, a super majority of 60 percent will be required to pass the measure.