PA House members move due to bats, bug infestation

by Sarah LefeberStaff Writer

The Performing Arts Theme House has been moved from its former house to a new location just off campus after a long string of infestation problems.

The decision, reached by administration and members of the house, was made official the week of Jan. 1, allowing students to move into the new house located on Detroit Street before the spring semester began.

“There were just some on-going issues in the house that we couldn’t assure ourselves we had resolved,” said Jim Thorius, vice president for student development.

The main issue with the house throughout the past couple of years has been a group of bats living in the attic of the house. When the bats were removed from the house earlier this fall, it was assumed the problem had been taken care of. What the bats left behind, however, were bat bugs, the tiny insects that actually feed on the bats.

“One thing that didn’t dawn on anyone was the bugs that were living on the bats,” said senior Lindsey Johnson, a member of the house. “Bugs were just biting the housemates because the bats had left.”

To rid the house of the bat bugs, the residents were given the option of moving their belongings to a residence hall for 10 days while a chemical bomb was set off in the house. The residents chose, however, to move into the house of sophomore Jacob Kaufman so everyone could still live together.

“It was a new problem for all of us to sort through and work through,” Thorius said.

Upon moving back, however, a new infestation began. Bed bugs began to bite the residents, forcing them to bomb the house again over Christmas break. After sending their clothes to a professional cleaner, they were able to move into the house again.

After moving in for a second time, however, Johnson says she instantly found another bug on her bed.

“I immediately called (Director of Housing) Mandy Fox and within a few days, they told us that they had found a temporary house for us,” Johnson said. “The new house is just perfect for us. We love it.”

Thorius said the six students living in the house had been wonderful throughout the whole process.

“The students have been marvelous throughout it,” he said. “I admire them a lot for it.”

Fox said that while the issue has been solved for the present, Residence Life is not sure where the Performing Arts House is going to be in the future, as applications for theme houses have not all been received. It is also uncertain as to whether the current house will be available next year.

“It is very likely that the house will return to the faculty,” Fox said. “The bug issues are being resolved, but it is not clear how the old building will be used next year.”

Junior Angela Vogel said that although it has not been determined where the new performing arts house will be, the students will have a house no matter what.

“There will be a PA house next year,” Vogel said. “It’s just a matter of where it will be.”