ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County Schools approved contracting with a Columbus County company during a special-called meeting on Thursday to combat the rodent and bug problems in the school system.
“They’re both bad … to be honest, we have had a problem … for a very long time,” Maintenance and Facilities Director Lou Nelon told the board. “The problem is they’ve only been treated when they’ve been seen, and if you’re seeing one, there’s a lot more activity behind that.”
Nelon and Child Nutrition Director Amy Stanley appeared before the board to present bids for pest control that were solicited in response to the district’s bedbud problem, as well as an increasing problem with rodents at the high school.
“For a very long time, we’ve been paying on a service schedule,” Nelon remarked, further informing the board the bidding companies could be divided into two categories: 1) those that would treat the buildings on a regular basis for a low set fee and, for an additional fee, address any concerns raised by district staff, and 2) those that would charge a hefty sum up front to come as often as is needed to eliminate the problem.
“The (latter) is much more preventative and treats the problem at the source,” Nelon said. “They’re not just responding when we have problems, but really looking at the structure itself … the subfloor and pipes and outbuildings … they’re going deeper into the schools behind the walls and in the roof to pre-treat things and get the critters before they make their way into the schools.”
Not only would pre-treatment and ongoing site service be included in the fee, but the company with which the board ultimately agreed to contract would do something none of the other bidders offered — address the bedbug problem at the root.
“He said if we have a situation we can’t control, he will go into the home and take care of it at no cost to the family,” Stanley told the board.
“I’m impressed that they’re willing to go out to the home,” said Vice-Chairman Roger Carroll, “because if you don’t treat it at home, it will … be a revolving door.”
Treatment will also include the buses, which staff have previously cited as a source for the spread of bedbugs.
According to Nelon, working in favor of the company is the fact that it handles pest control for Columbus County Schools, something he said was “different than any other structure.”
Waldron & Co., LLC, was approved by the board for a one-year contract. The business operates out of Chadbourn.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.