Termites targeted at school

'Colonies are a couple hundred thousand'

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Marsh Pointe Elementary School is bundled like a giant present.  The five-year-old school in Palm Beach Gardens has a termite problem.

"We found termites in multiple locations, swarming in different areas," explained Allyson Sprague with Beach Environmental Extermination.

The company has had some Spring Break math homework, measuring the size of massive tarps and fumigant necessary to eradicate the termites.

"They were drywood termites, so the colonies are a couple hundred thousand," she said.

Palm Beach County School district takes on many maintenance projects during student vacations. They are tackling electrical and air conditioning work, among other large projects.  The crews are working 10-hour days instead of their usual 8-hour shifts.

In 2008, the district had 560 maintenance workers on staff.  This year, they have 400 workers. 

"We are doing much more with much less," explained Jim Kunard, Director of Facility Services for Palm Beach County Schools.

Kunard says budget cuts have squeezed staff and delayed projects district-wide.

"We are coping by being reactive instead of proactive.  We need more resources to solve the problems before they occur," he said.

The district maintenance staff works in 28 million square feet of buildings, as part of the nation's 11th largest district.

Kunard says termites will also need to be exterminated at Palm Beach Gardens Elementary School and Lighthouse Elementary School.

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