ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – St. Augustine City Hall will go under the tent for a termite fumigation. City Commissioners approved the $400,000 treatment to help battle the bug problem. The historical building houses city offices along with other businesses and the Lightner Museum.
City officials said that it's something that just needed to be done. The building was built back in the 1880s and they said they've been having termite problems for some time. They want to make sure it's done right to preserve the historical landmark, so they will be monitoring the entire process.
Tackling the termites became a priority for city commissioners after the Lightner museum's curator reported seeing an increase in termite activity.
"This is a historic building, and the longer you wait on termites, the more damage it'll do," Jim Piggott, the director of general services for the city of St. Augustine, said. "Even for the termite companies themselves. They have to find enough tenting material to cover what is close to a 200,000 square foot building. It's going to be a pretty big project."
A crane will be used to get the tarps in place, then the gas will be pumped into the building - killing the termites. The tent will be sealed so there's no danger for anyone outside the building during the treatment. Termites are a problem that is common for the structures built during the Spanish renaissance.
"There's a lot of buildings in St. Augustine, and you'll see every year or so, one or two of those buildings tented and fumigated. It is a pretty big problem," Piggott said.
Then entire project will cost about $400,000. The city will pay $100,000 up front, then the rest with 5 percent interest in October out of next year's budget.
The fumigation is expected to take about four days. They plan to do it during the Fourth of July holiday, because city offices will be closed. No one has scheduled any events inside that building at that time, so it's convenient for them.