Bats vacate fitness center; focus moves to prevention | News

The bat colony that took up residence in the Fort Rucker Fitness Center on Andrews Avenue in early July has left the building.

Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Works and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said the Brazilian free-tailed bats left in mid-August once their fledgling pups were able to fly.

“We have cleared the bats from all gym areas and the gym is now again in full service,” said Joseph Wyka, Directorate of Public Works director. “DPW installed approved bat exclusion devices Aug. 21. These devices allowed any stray bats to exit the building and denied them entry back inside in a humane way.”

DPW then retained the services of a professional remediation company that conducted multiple inspections of the facility Aug. 24-28, he added.

“They did not observe any remaining bats and did not locate any traces of bat droppings in any accessible areas,” Wyka said. “They then conducted a thorough cleaning and “(Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation) staff aired out the gym using large ventilation fans for a week.”

A joint task force from DPW, MWR and Lyster Army Health Clinic also re-inspected the gym and issued a final safe bill of health to allow people to use the locker rooms and racquetball courts once again, he added.

Fort Rucker’s response to the unwanted visitors was the very definition of teamwork, and taking care of Soldiers and families, according to Evy Bludsworth, DFMWR director.

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