Binghamton CSD New MacArthur Elementary School Earns Highest Recognition from American School & University

The 2016 Architectural Portfolio has been released by American School & University with Binghamton City School District’s New MacArthur Elementary School earning one of the grand prizes – the William W. Caudill Citation – for the top K-12 honor. For 34 years, the Architectural Portfolio has been the industry’s most recognized awards program for education design excellence. Published in cooperation with the American Institute of Architects, this prestigious competition celebrates architects and education institutions for their achievements in outstanding school design.

In 2011, Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene caused the worst flooding in the history of Binghamton, New York. MacArthur Elementary School was destroyed after being flooded with over 5 feet of water. Designed by Ashley McGraw Architects of Syracuse, New York, the 125,000 square foot high performance elementary school is organized with larger program elements (cafeteria, library, gym, etc.) sitting along higher ground to the southeast. These elements are above the newly established flood plain and three 2-story classroom wings are raised on columns above the ground to allow the river to flood and recede naturally over time. The classroom wings are oriented to allow maximum daylight into the majority of the classrooms from the north and provide views of the ever-changing river.

Through geothermal and solar energy features, combined with advanced lights with daylight sensors and radiant floor heat, the school uses just 25 percent the energy of a traditional school its size. Jury comments included, “Wonderfully creative plan captures space around and under buildings with both seriousness and delight. Beautifully striated and punctured forms sit delicately between river and town.”

Joe Sisko