Bat infestation forces closure of Sugar Hall at ULM

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A bat infestation has forced University of Louisiana at Monroe faculty members to close Sugar Hall.

A colony of bats huddles outside of vent located on Sugar Hall at ULM.

Dr. Ken Alford is the interim dean for the College of Health Sciences. He says they discovered the bats a month ago. He says he and other members were coming out of the building around five in the evening, and that is when they saw bats streaming out of the building's vents.

"It is a nuisance more than anything else right now," Alford said. "Once they're in, they are hard to get rid of, and they can fit through the smallest cracks."

Alford says there thousands of bats. He says they immediately called a bat eradication team. Since bats are mammals, they have to relocated and not exterminated.

"The team came in and provided some exits for the bats, the hope was, or for the company, was that the bats would exit for the evening and not be able to get back in," Alford said. "But that was not the case."

Alford says the bats were initially in the walls of the exterior surface of the building. Now, they have forced themselves inside of classrooms, halls, and offices. The interim dean says they believe the bats started coming in the HVAC ducts.

"[The team] is also going to test air quality and do some other things that will help us to ensure health," Alford said.

He says the building is closed for Wednesday as well. Alford also says faculty will reassess the situation on Thursday. Students can check signs on Sugar Hall's front doors or their emails to see where professors have moved their class.

Alford also says the college cannot afford to close the building entirely.