Coolidge School re-opens to excited faces

By Matt Porter

December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 6:55 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When first grade teacher Patti Fiato had to leave her classroom due to asbestos, she lost everything from pencils and crayons to pictures and activities from the past that can't be recovered.

"Those photos were memories and things, children that you've taught in the past. Activities that we've done here at school," Fiato said. "It's hard to know they're not available."

Fiato, the rest of the Calvin Coolidge faculty, and the school's 320 students spread out to five different schools for the fall.

"We tried to keep the routines the same, and definitely our expectations. And tried to deliver curriculums with what we had," she said.

The grand re-opening was relief for parent Ashley Marsh.

"You have one child going to one school and one child going to the other," Ashley Marsh said, "It was definitely challenging at times."

Her son Gavin Marsh, a third grader, said he was happy see his school back and better than ever.

"When I first heard about the asbestos, I was just shocked," Gavin Marsh said. "But now that these people who fixed it, they did a great job."

Although classroom ceilings and carpets have been completely replaced, the thousands of dollars in supplies will take longer to completely buy back.

Principal Mary Kay Ryan said many supplies were bought by teachers over the years.

"It is going to be a process though, it's not something they can replace all at once," Ryan said. "But the district has done a good job at getting us up and started, and we will continue this process throughout the school year."

Neighboring schools and parent organizations have donated money and supplies to the school in an effort to help teachers, something that isn't forgotten by Patti Fiato.

"Schools have really helped out by donating materials and adopting us," Fiato said. "And we are very gracious for what they have done for Coolidge School."

The school was closed in August after asbestos was discovered in the basement during a routine inspection.