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Fewer bats being found at Curtis Middle School

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at 6:19 p.m.

School district crews are still finding and removing bats from Curtis Middle School, but officials say the number of flying critters is diminishing.

“We continue to monitor the building carefully and will address any concerns immediately until we no longer find any new cases,” district spokeswoman Wendy Johnson said in an e-mail Friday.

More than a month ago, a small colony of little brown bats was discovered inside Curtis, which is near Harry and Edgemoor in southeast Wichita. School officials and district crews so far have removed about 20 bats – most of them from classrooms or common areas. Four were discovered Monday and Tuesday, Johnson said.

Tim Phares, the district’s director of environmental services, said the animals likely have been seeking warmth and are “a nuisance” but likely not dangerous.

The bats are about the size of a human hand, but they can compress their bodies to a half-inch thickness and squeeze through tiny openings, Phares said.

One teacher in a room on the ground floor was relocated to a different classroom for the remainder of the year.

“That room was cleaned from floor to ceiling by a restoration company, inspected afterwards, and certified to be appropriate for … reoccupation,” Johnson said in the e-mail.

“District facilities staff has worked extensively to close as many small exterior openings as possible and seal the building up even more than it already is,” she added.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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