A New MacArthur Elementary: One Step at a Time

By Erika Mahoney

August 9, 2012 Updated Aug 10, 2012 at 10:14 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new MacArthur Elementary School is still about two years away, but a design for the future building is in the works, with an endeavor to create the most effective and efficient school possible.

"Of course we are always in a hurry, and we want this school as soon as possible," said Binghamton City School District Superintendent Peggy Wozniak. "But there is a lot that goes into the design of any school, and particularly, on this site. We're excited about how our architects are being very creative about how can we build up a school on this site, protect it from any potential flooding in the future, but yet work with that landscape, where it is, to make it work to our advantage."

Specifically, a "green" advantage. Tentative plans include using local and natural materials, building a front garden with walking paths, and planning for a net-zero energy rate.

"We're arranging the building primarily to respond to the sun correctly, and to harvest the sun's light and heat," said Ashley McGraw architect Peter Larson. "We are also thinking about water, which is so important on this site, and the path of water."

In addition to planning flood prevention measures, Larson says the building will also help create a learning environment where kids can better understand their ecosystems.

But talking about the old building doesn't make losing the old one any easier. Architects said they are going to try and use recyclable materials from the existing building and put them into the new building so that the memory of it can live on.

"I think that's great, to recycle and bring part of the old building in," said Nicki Chanecka. "It will make it comforting to many of those that feel a loss from the building as it, as it was."

Chanecka adds that constructing the new building will likely cause nostalgia for the many families who have grown up with MacArthur Elementary.

So, school board members are also discussing a demolition that honors the building, and all it has given to the community.