This is the first part of a four-part article about a partnership between the birthplace of college basketball and the founders of gym floor finish.

On April 8, 1893, Geneva College made history. When the school’s “Covies” matched up against the New Brighton YMCA, it marked the first-ever collegiate basketball game.

For 120 years, the school in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, has embraced its heritage as the birthplace of college basketball. And to house and honor the sport, the school has made sure its gym floor is impeccable.

Unfortunately, during the 2013-2014 winter break, a pipe froze and burst in a second floor woman’s restroom, pumping hundreds of gallons of water onto the gym floor below for close to a day. With water damage on and below the floor’s surface, the school had no choice but to start over.

“With that damage, we had to tear up the complete floor, go through a drying process to get the concrete and everything below the gym floor level dry,” says Dan Kiger, physical plant supervisor, Geneva College. “We had to start from scratch and rebuild.”

Over the course of three weeks, the existing floor would be removed and a new one laid, sealed and finished. When deciding on which floor care chemicals to use for the job, Kiger turned to products from Hillyard, the company that originally created gym floor finishes.

For the first — and presumably only — time in history, the birthplace of college basketball would partner with the founding fathers of gym floor finishes. This historic pact put a silver lining on an unfortunate accident.