Sitka solves school rat problem

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2002

SITKA (AP) -- With a few weeks to go before children return to classrooms, the Sitka School District believes it has flushed out the rodent problem at Baranof Elementary School.

School officials said rats apparently were entering through an open toilet drain in a 6-foot square bathroom that was walled off during a remodeling project last year.

''We're now in the process of getting into that room, getting it cleaned up, and cementing over the hole,'' said Steve Bradshaw.

The district's kindergartners, first-graders and up to a dozen second-graders attend Baranof.

Last April, the district reported finding rats at Baranof. Maintenance workers spent considerable time plugging all visible holes and setting traps.

District officials believed the problem was solved. But as teachers began returning to prepare classrooms, they saw signs that the rats were back, Bradshaw said.

Deputy Fire Marshal Kelli Cropper, performing a safety inspection, noted that a section of wall did not go completely to the ceiling and told the maintenance staff to address the problem.

When staff members looked into the enclosed space, they discovered rat feces and the unsealed dry sewer pipe.

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