Breaking ground on a new Owego Elementary

By Kelly McCarthy

November 26, 2013 Updated Nov 27, 2013 at 9:43 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Owego-Apalachin school district takes a big step forward by breaking ground on the new Owego Elementary school.

It's been more than two years since the Owego-Apalachin School District has had a building for some elementary school students.

"My count is that we are about day number 810 since this whole property was underwater and our elementary school was destroyed," said Owego-Apalachin Superintendent Bill Russell.

810 days later the first sign of rebuilding is being celebrated.

"We have decided on a very aggressive schedule," Russell said, "We will be moving earth and digging and getting ready for structural steel all through the winter."

Construction crews are making quick work so the school's foundation can be laid in January, and its steel structure to be built in March.

"We're going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 dump trucks full of earth," Russell said, "That is either moving out or coming back in to accomplish just the site work."

Construction started last week and the first focus is preventing another flood from destroying a new school.

"The very basis," said School Board President David Barton, "The very foundation of this will be building up a rather large mound for flood mitigation."

What look like just piles of dirt shows promise to the elementary school's principal who has been displaced since the flood.

"Everyday has little difficulties," said elementary principal Laurie McKeveny, "But we were fortunate to be able to go into a previous elementary school that has the facilities and things young children need."

Principal McKeveny is looking forward to her students and teachers once again having their own space to grow and learn.

"Right now we are crowded in every part of the building we are in," McKeveny said, "From having our band on the stage to having special teachers work out of different little storage areas, etc."

But that will soon change, once the initial signs of construction turn into a brand new space to call home. The elementary school is on track to be finished by the 2015 school year. FEMA's funding covers 90 percent of the total cost of the $60 million project.

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