Rebuilding a School and Recovering From the Flood of 2011

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 11th May 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2gytzf2a/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Environment

A school destroyed by the Flood of 2011 is finally being rebuilt. Ground was broken this past week for a new school which could open by the start of the 2015 school year.

A New School On the Way For a Flood-Damaged Neighborhood


Excavators dove deep into the earth. Huge piles of dirt emerged. A row of construction trailers appeared and quickly filled with workers wearing orange vests and dodging dirt as they broke ground on a new school.
That was the scene this past week in my neighborhood when a school destroyed by the Flood of 2011 began to be rebuilt. During the first day of school in September 2011, Tropical Storm Lee dumped 7 inches of rain on Binghamton, NY where I live. The city sits at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers which rose more than 25 feet - 11 feet above flood stage. See the Flood of 2011.
MacArthur Elementary School, located just a few blocks from my home was destroyed. Since then, the children who attended the school have been bused to two closed Catholic schools a few miles away. They miss their old school and look forward to a new one set to open in September 2015.

Surrounded by Water


MacArthur Elementary School is located about a quarter mile from the Susquehanna River. Waters rose quickly during the flood. Classes were cut short that day as schools rushed children home on buses. In some cases, children had to ride home on fire trucks because the water came up too fast for the buses.
Very little inside the school was salvaged. A few desks and chairs were able to be hosed and scrubbed down. Most were damaged beyond repair. Books, carpets, file cabinets and even bulletin boards were washed away, leaving behind a soggy mess.
Schools all over the area were shut down during the flood. I remember seeing children standing across the street from the flood a day or two after the disaster when the waters began to recede. The school was still an island surrounded by water as some children looked on, many with tears in their eyes.

Demolishing the Old School and Moving On


Because a school had been destroyed, the recovery process has been complicated and filled with red tape. It took more than two years before demolition could start on the old building. Demolition started last fall and lasted more than six weeks. See Recovering From the Flood
School officials have had to deal with everyone from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the New York State Department of Education. Every inch of damage had to be documented. Recovery plans had to be reviewed by several agencies. No wonder it took so long.
School officials searched for another site to build the school on. However, they couldn't find any that was big enough and still located within the city limits. So they decided to rebuild the school on the same site. However, classroom wings will be raised high above the flood plain, and the building will be built closer to the road and farther away from the river.

Starting to Rebuild At Last


The original plan called for construction of the new school to start shortly after the new year. But there was more red tape to cut through. The state Education Department needed more time to review the construction plans.
Finally, the first bulldozer arrived late last week. Work started this past Monday on rebuilding the school. Excavators dug deep holes as clouds of dust flew into the sky. A steady stream of dump trucks filled with dirt visited the site. I counted three in a roughly five-minute period on one afternoon this past week.
Huge mounds of dirt line the site. Workers wearing hard hats and orange vests operate machinery and walk around the site, keeping a close eye on the construction process.
Plans call for reopening the new school by September 2015, the fourth anniversary of the flood. However, the school likely won't be 100 percent completed. Workers hope to finally walk off the completed job in December 2015. That can't come soon enough for the children who long to be back in their neighborhood school again.

Here are some more flood stories I wrote:
Heroes of the Flood
Furry Flood Refugees


Attribution:
I took all the pictures used in this article.

Tags

Flood, Flood Damage, Flood Damges, Flood Of 2011, Flooding

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
11th May 2014 (#)

we have to move on and TG this was a good move for many...thanks so much Connie...

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author avatar Connie McKinney
12th May 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carolina. You are right. We need to keep moving on with life.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
12th May 2014 (#)

i look for to seeing the finished school , so keep us reported dear Connie .
God bless you
Stella ><

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author avatar Connie McKinney
12th May 2014 (#)

Thanks, Stella. I think it will be a joyous day when the kids can finally walk through the doors of their new school.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th May 2014 (#)

Good evening, Connie; like Carolina and Stella, would like to hear updates. Thanks for the article. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
13th May 2014 (#)

Beautiful post Connie, keep us posted when its finished

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
13th May 2014 (#)

Thanks Connie for this update. I have been reading your reporting of this terrible tragedy - luckily no lives were lost. Destruction is easy while rebuilding takes planning and time. I salute the mastery of whoever created the Universe and the Creation itself with myriad possibilities - siva

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author avatar Delicia Powers
13th May 2014 (#)

Thanks Connie it is so good to hear this news....and looking forward to seeing it opening...

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author avatar Connie McKinney
13th May 2014 (#)

Thanks to Marilyn, Fern, Delicia and Siva for your kind comments. Siva, your comments are always so wise and well said. Thank you again.

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author avatar Helen Thomas
13th May 2014 (#)

Thanks ~ Connie ~ for such an interesting and informative post. I, too, look forward to seeing the updates.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
13th May 2014 (#)

Thanks,. Helen. I will keep everyone posted.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
15th May 2014 (#)

The school in Phil Campbell is just about rebuilt. Looking forward to both schools being open to students soon!!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
16th May 2014 (#)

Me, too, Phyl. The kids can't wait to return to a new school.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
20th Jun 2014 (#)

Haven't heard from you lately. Hope.all is well. Best wishes!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
11th Jan 2015 (#)

I miss your posts Connie. Wish you well for the New Year - siva

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