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Project uncertain

| Monday, March 10, 2003

Ross recreation director Pete Geis can't wait to take a foul shot from a real foul line in the Ross municipal center gymnasium.

The installation of the floor has been delayed because of moisture in the cement. It's the final touch for the new $6 million complex, which opened in August.

It also has been the biggest headache for officials because flooring has special needs that have been hard to meet.

In order for the floor, which costs more than $20,000, to be under warranty, the manufacturer requires the moisture content of the cement to be less than 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet through curing.

Curing is a chemical reaction within the concrete that causes it to harden. While curing slows down over time, it never ends.

In December, officials declared that they had reached that goal at three separate test sites on the floor and now have to find someone to install the floor. In all, nine test sites were tested.

Commissioners are anxious to have a proposal for the floor in their hands by the end of this month.

Geis said the floor must be completed by May or installation will have to wait until August because of all the summer camp activities planned in the gym.

Ross Manager Tom Lavorini said the process is moving along.

"We're in the process of getting proposals from an alternate source," he said. "As of right now, the architect has been instructed to seek proposals for installation of the gym floor.

"I'm going to be looking at the timeliness of the ability to install."

Even without the floor, Geis said, the gym has been a constant draw for the public.

"It's constantly being used. It's hard not knowing when the floor's going in. I can't even rent it not knowing when the floor's going down. I need some sort of date," Geis said. "It's just an unfortunate situation. Everybody's trying to get it down the right way. Everybody's trying to do their best. Rome wasn't built in a day."

Commissioner Gerald O'Brien said he has been disappointed with the entire process.

"I'm just disappointed with the whole gym floor, period. I think it was a gigantic mistake specing that floor," he said. "Whoever made the call on that thing was misguided -- the time of it, the problems with the moisture, the problems with the warranty."

The flooring is called "Acoustiflor," a product of Whitehall-based Tarkett, a flooring company.

While the Acoustiflor product is not standard issue for gymnasium floors, which traditionally are wood, it is standard for multipurpose rooms, which is what the Ross gym was designed to be.

The new Ross municipal center is a 38,000-square-foot structure that houses township and police offices and also has 20,000 square feet dedicated to community use.

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