Johnson C. Smith University students living in a dormitory on campus will be relocated starting on Monday after a local pest company discovered a bat.
“Over the past two weeks we have worked diligently with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control and Carolina Pest Control to solve the bat problem in Myers Hall,” Cathy Jones, dean of student success, wrote to the university’s faculty and staff. “Because Carolina Pet Control did find a bat, we are taking the most prudent precautionary measures…”
The 98 students living in the dorm will be relocated to available rooms in residence halls throughout the campus, university spokeswoman Jennifer Gaskins said.
Anayochukwu Ezeigbo, the university’s assistant vice president for business operations, said the bat was discovered around Jan. 28. The bat was captured and taken to the county health department, where it tested negative for rabies.
Upon further inspection, university officials discovered a small hole in the building’s roof. Ezeigbo said it’s possible the bat entered the dorm through that hole.
The university has closed the dormitory for the rest of the spring semester as well as its summer session. It will reopen in the fall. While the dorm is closed, university officials will seal the hole and make sure there are no other possible ways for a bat to enter again, Ezeigbo said.
The university has also sprayed a non-toxic bat repellent powder on the ceilings, ordered replacement screens for some windows and secured the roof, ceilings and walls to “prevent future invasions,” Jones wrote in her letter.
“We’re doing everything we can do and erring on the side of caution … so that when (the students) come back, we’ll be able to ensure there are no more bats in the building,” Ezeigbo said.