News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, April 17, 2013
LINCOLNTON, Ga. (WRDW) -- The bats that infested a local middle school are back, but parents are saying according to their children in the school, they never really left.
Now, parents are calling for a permanent solution to a problem they say should have been fixed a long time ago.
Superintendent Jeff Carney admitted they are having problems at Lincoln County Middle School, even more than just bats, but he said they are doing everything they can to fix it.
"We've done everything possible, especially at this point, to try and seal the building off so the bats can't get in," he said.
Earlier this month, News 12 learned bats and their guano were found in the ceiling of the middle school. After countless attempts to rid the school of the invasive animals, Carney decided to check it out for himself while the students were on Spring Break.
"We went last week during Masters. I met somebody from an environmental company in Augusta. We toured the inside and outside," he said.
After inspecting the school, Carney says there's really only one thing left to do.
"To make this go away permanently, that roof needs replacing, not just for the bats, but there are a lot of leaks in there. It's an old roof, and if we're going to keep that school open and kids and teachers are going to be in there, then we're going to need to address a roof," he said.
At the beginning of this month, the principal said she believed all the bats were gone, but parents say kids in the classroom were saying otherwise.
"The week before Spring Break, he had told me that he could still hear them in the ceiling. Then he went back to school yesterday and told me that there was dead bat in one of the classrooms," parent Melanie Delancey said.
But to Carney, finding the dead bat is actually a positive.
"That's a good sign to us because we feel like we plugged that building off as much as we can. And personally, I don't have anything against bats, but a dead bat is better than a bat flying around that everyone gets scared of," he said.
"I think that is a good starting point for them to get the bats out of there, but I wish they would have done it a long time ago when it first happened," Delancey said.
Back on April 3, the principal sent a letter home with all the students explaining the situation and everyone the school was working with to fix it, including the Department of Natural Resources and a company out of Augusta that specializes in this type of cleanup.
Carney says the company is supposed to come by this Friday to drill through the walls to see if there's any left over guano and then do cleanup when none of the students or staff is around.