Officials in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district said Tuesday that a water main break in the administration building last week will likely take months and millions of dollars to clean up.
District spokeswoman Christy Multer said the initial estimate that repairs could be completed at the Hostetter Building within weeks proved to be optimistic.
“The water problem has caused an asbestos problem,” Multer said. “The floor tiles that were damaged during the flood are of the 1950s-era when asbestos was a miracle material used as insulation.”
A water main under the floor in the main hallway of the Cypress Drive building burst on Nov. 4 and sent thousands of gallons of water rushing down corridors and out the front doors, Multer said.
A passing Glenville police officer saw the deluge and called for a school official at 6 a.m.
“The force of the water was enough to buckle the tiles in the hallway, and it’s left a muddy mess in some of the rooms and halls,” Multer said.
The Hostetter Administrative Building was the Glenhaven Elementary School from 1958 to 1981, but when student enrollment dropped, the space was converted to offices and rented space.
Three tenants occupy more than half of the space in the building now.
They are: the Montessori Nursery School, the YMCA program K-CARE which takes kindergartners during the half-day they are not in school, and the Crossroads Center for Children, which is a preschool program.
Crossroads Center Executive Director Kelly Young said her school has 50 students, most with autism.
“We’ve been out of school for a week now and kids with autism need structure in their schedules. This has been very disruptive for our students and their families,” Young said.
She said several sites have been investigated for a temporary location, and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd on Route 50 in Glenville appears to be the spot that will be used for the foreseeable future.
“The church has been great and the site is big enough for all of our students, so we won’t have to break up into many locations,” she said.
An inspection by the state Office of Children and Family Services found the fire alarm system needed updating but few other problems with the classroom space at the church, she said Tuesday.
The Rev. Beth Parker said the church has a short application process and church leaders are happy to help the Crossroads Center.
“We try to be accommodating to the community. Our church is usually open to nonprofit groups,” Parker said. She noted the church housed the Oak Hill School for a while when it was undergoing renovations.
Multer said she did not know if the Montessori Nursery School had found a new temporary home, but the K-CARE program for kindergarten students from the district has been moved to a classroom in the Pashley Elementary School.
“The Crossroads Center is the biggest tenant and uses about 10 classrooms,” she said.
The only wing in the building not damaged by the flooding is the area that houses the school district’s own administration.
Multer said the building had no running water Monday and portable toilets had been installed outside. She said heat in the building was “hit and miss.”
“All of the employees have been told they can move to other space in the district for the time being,” she said. “Crushed stone has been brought in as a pad for trailers that will be installed as temporary offices.”
She said the trailers were expected by the end of the week and it is unclear how long they will be used by the administration.
She said an insurance adjustor was hired to advocate for maximum payments by the district’s insurance company for the cleanup and renovation.