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Sticky situation in Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake gyms

Volleyball practices for Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District teams are being taken on the road after coats of gym floor finish applied at the middle and high schools have yet to dry after more than a week's time.

The custodial staff applied a coat of Comply Gym Floor Finish, made by Essential Industries, on Monday, Aug. 11, as part of routine summer maintenance.

It looked glossy at first and fine, but after two days, it was obvious something was wrong, said custodial supervisor Dave Martin.

The finish usually cures in four or five days.

"Gym finish usually cures from the bottom up," said Martin, "but this stuff is cracking on top while the part next to the wood is still gooey and even moving or pooling in spots. I've been refinishing gym floors for 29 years, and I've never seen anything like this."

It's the same finish the district always uses, so it is considering the possibility that the batch was defective. District spokeswoman Christy Multer said Essential representatives have surveyed the three affected gyms and have contacted other schools that purchased the same batch. She said Essential has been helpful and cooperative.

"The investigation is moving forward," said Multer. "We're anxious to get this situation resolved as soon as possible with school opening Sept. 4."

Multer said that fans are being used to hopefully speed the drying process along. Once the finish has dried it will be sanded off and a new finish will be applied. It hasn't been decided what kind of finish will be used.

Multer also said the district will be looking to Essential for financial compensation for not only the $2,200 batch of finish, but also for the labor involved in the clean up. There have been additional costs associated with the issue, including gym rental and transportation costs for moving five volleyball teams' practices to Niskayuna and Ballston Spa high schools, where BH-BL Athletic Director Bob McGuire has arranged for roughly two hours of practice time per day.

"We're expecting some reimbursement," said Multer. "We feel this company owns the problem."

Multiple calls to Wisconsin-based Essential Industries were not returned.""

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