Thousands Of Bats In Salina Bicentennial Center

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

About two thousand bats have made the Salina Bicentennial Center their home.

The infestation was discovered while the center was preparing to make $8.6 million in renovations. First things first, the bats have to go.

The new general manager has big plans for the Salina Bicentennial Center.

"We really just want to bring the facility up to date so we can compete against these other facilities in Kansas,” general manager Chris Bird said.

But before they can make any renovations, they have one, big problem to deal with. Several thousand bats have settled in the ceiling of the building's mezzanine level. We weren't allowed up there to get video but are told the type of bats they're dealing with are called little brown bats.

"Let's face it you can be 8.9 million dollars in this building and if we have bats we're going to be know as the bat cave. People aren't going to show up for events. Instead of saying it's a great facility, the food was fantastic, the town was great; they'll say 'Oh that's the place with the bats,'" city commissioner Aaron Householter said.

City commissioner Aaron Householter also joked with us that he had no idea how much getting rid of bats could cost. The price tag is just over 35 thousand dollars.

"But that's what I start thinking I think me and my buddies with some BB guns could probably clear this out pretty quick,” Householter said.

He says the bat removal process is a little more complicated. It includes clearing out all the bats and cleaning up the guano they leave behind. According to a city document, city leaders cite the bats as a health concern because of several bacteria and germs guano can host.

The plan is to get the bats out without harming them by putting up bat cones. The cones are basically a one way door, the bats can fly out but they can't get back in.

The Kansas State High School 4A basketball tournament starts Wednesday at the Bicentennial Center but the general manager tells us the bats are in an area where they have no contact with the public.

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