Super termite eating school; building collapse feared
NAPOLEONVILLE - Two schools are under attack from a termite that has eaten nearly half a gymnasium.
The gym at Napoleonville Primary has been shut down after a colony of Formosan Subterranean Termite infested the building. The termite is known for destroying homes and eating any untreated woods in its path.
"It had a lot of damage near the ground," LSU Entomologist Dennis Ring said. "If nothing is done, now this is years off, eventually the building will collapse."
Some of the wood that remains is crumbling and safety crews have already replaced two support beams.
The nearly 400 students at this school need the gym fixed, according to Assumption Parish School Superintendent Earl Martinez. But doing so will cost a quarter to a half million dollars.
"We've got it, but financially things are tight so it's hard to spend that money. But it's something that is necessary because that particular school has no cafeteria it has no auditorium. That's the only meeting place for these kids and the only place for those kids to have PE," Martinez said.
The termites have not migrated to the rest of the school.
Luckily, the situation is not so severe at another infestation site. Belle Rose Middle School's termite situation is contained to a small part of the school and officials don't think that is a concern.
Prior to these incidents, the district did not have regular pest control at any Assumption Parish schools.
"I don't think we had any pest control on the gym itself but now that we have termite damage we are going to do pest control for the whole school," Martinez said. "Maybe we need to do it for all of our buildings because this is the first incidents we've run into with termites."
At Wednesday night's district meeting, school board members decided to get estimates on fixing the building or demolishing it and building an entire new gym.
Click HERE for more from the USDA on the termites.
Click HERE for a previous story from WBRZ News 2 about how LSU is working to deal with termites.