Building a future for MacArthur Elementary School

By Brandi Bailey

June 3, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2013 at 11:29 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It's been nearly two years since the 2011 floods, the same amount of time MacArthur Elementary students were last together in the same building.

Students and staff were reunited in celebration after Binghamton residents voted in April to support a project to rebuild the flood-ravaged school.

The students -- split into two separate buildings for the past two school years -- cane together again Monday at MacArthur Park with a bounce house, BBQ and entertainment

For many this celebration is another sign their school community will be whole again.

"Driving over here, it started to bring tears to my eyes," said Principal, Maria McIver. "It's been quite an experience needless to say these last couple of years. To bring everyone together it's wonderful."

Plans for the new MacArthur school include a more energy efficient structure that will be built five feet above the flood plain and closer to Vestal Avenue.

There are specialized wings for each grade, a retaining wall and new spots for the school track and athletic fields.

FEMA is covering most of the $77.8 million project, with the district and its taxpayers picking up nearly $3 million.

Binghamton hopes to see the new school completed by August of 2015, in time for students to start the school year there.