Montebello Elementary's opening delayed by an infestation of rats Pupils don't mind extra vacation day BALTIMORE CITY

September 01, 1993|By Gary Gately | Gary Gately,Staff Writer

Baltimore school officials and parents said, "Rats!"

But the students cheered an unexpected day off today when rodent infestation delayed the opening of the school year at Montebello Elementary, which has undergone a three-year, $5 million renovation.

While children savored another chance to stay up late, school system workers scrambled last night to rid Montebello of the gnawing nuisance common to urban areas, especially during construction projects.

Parents, teachers and construction workers had reported seeing the rodents and rat droppings, prompting Superintendent Walter Amprey and school officials to delay the opening of Montebello until tomorrow.

School system crews worked throughout the afternoon and into late last night to try to rid the school of rats.

Workers filled in spaces near floorboards where the rodents may have entered and set traps with peanut butter as bait.

The school is located in the 2500 block of E. Northern Parkway.

"We think it's under control, but we kept the school closed because of the need to alleviate anxiety and have parents feel we're doing the job right," Dr. Amprey said.

John A. Green Sr., director of facilities for city schools, said he's never heard of a school closing because of rat infestation in his 38 years in the system.

Mr. Green speculated that the rodents scurried into the school when workers cut the lawn outside recently.

"The most important thing is that school is safe for the children," Mr. Green said.

"We will make sure the place is safe, absolutely positively certain it's safe for the children and the rodents are gone," he said.

When students do return to the school, they'll find a newly renovated library, a new computer room and other improvements throughout the building.

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