Update February 25, 2013 4:15 p.m.
South Wesleyan University leaders will decide next week, when students can move back into Stuart-Bennett Hall. Students were forced out after crews found endangered brown bats in the building.
Crews continue to monitor the situation. They've spotted brown bats, leaving through special one-way tubes installed last week. The university hired a post control company to identify and fix other areas, where bat could enter Stuart-Bennett Hall.
University leaders moved the students into temporary housing, that is comparable or better than their rooms, at no extra cost. While students are away at Spring Break, March 4th - 8th, the university will thoroughly inspect Stuart-Bennett Hall and decide when the students can move back in.
The university is working with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to make sure they follow every required protocol.
Original Story: February 21, 2013
Endangered bat have forced students at a local university to temporarily leave their residence hall.
Southern Wesleyan University Vice President of Enrollment Chad Peters said that university officials met last week regarding the reported sightings of bats at Stuart-Bennett Residence Hall, which was built in the 1960's. Over a period of time people had noticed the bats outside of the hall and when they investigated further, officials found that Carolina Brown Bats were nesting under a ledge at the building and were entering the building.
Peters said that school officials met with a pest control company to find out what options were available since it is unlawful to kill an endangered species. After consulting, the pest company built a tube that allows the bats to exit the building without coming back in. However, everything seemed to be fine until Wednesday night.
A student noticed that a bat had squeezed through a crack in the window sill. Maintenance officials were called by a Student Life Representative and they promptly evacuated the building. A short time later, a e-mail was sent out to the 100 freshman and their student mentors who stayed at the residence hall saying they would be asked to move to another facility on campus.
"We just did not want a situation to occur where any students could come in contact with a bat, and bats do carry disease," Peters said.
University officials are working to prevent the bats from entering the building by sealing the window sill and the dorm ledge. They say that a full inspection will be done before the students will be let back in.
"It helps us make sure our plans are in place and we can communicate well with students," said Joe Brockington, Vice President of Student Life.
Peters said that maintenance crews will be monitoring the dorm and students should be allowed to return to their dorm in several days.