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'Ongoing' rodent issue at CofC closed another dining facility, Beaver says

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What College of Charleston emergency management officials describe as "ongoing pest issues" has closed another campus dining facility.

In an email sent to students and employees Tuesday, Director of Environmental Health and Safety Randy Beaver stated City Bistro closed at 5 p.m. and would be closed temporarily to address the issues.

"While the College has recently undertaken several repairs to dining facilities on campus, physical plant staff and the College’s pest control vendor need additional access and time this evening to complete intrusion control measures," Beaver wrote.

City Bistro opened to students in October 2011. It's located at the corner of Calhoun and St. Philip streets.

City Bistro shares a building with a Chick-fil-A. That Chick-fil-A also closed last week to address "intrusion issues" associated with increased rodent activity downtown.

CofC officials have confirmed the rodents in question are mice and rats. Students say rat sightings downtown and on campus is nothing new.

"At night you see the big ones," said freshman Ben Ethier. "Squirrel sized, maybe bigger."

Ashley Holland, a senior at the College of Charleston, says she has friends who've visited the cafeteria and seen the rodents first hand.

"My friends have seen live rats skidding around on the pipes overhead the dining areas, which also run into the kitchen prep areas. There were people who saw live rats running around on the floor.”

Holland says she took matters into her own hands once she got word of the most recent rodent problem Tuesday, because she says the college has a "history of sweeping these issues under the rug."

"(Students) reported it to the staff, and most of them aren’t in a position to do anything, but it was kept open anyway," Holland said. "When I found out there were rats, live rats running around in the kitchens and dining areas, and once the college said they would remain open, I decided to file a food safety complaint with DHEC and the health department."

A former manager at City Bistro, who asked to remain anonymous, says rats have been an issue at on campus restaurants for the past eight years.

College of Charleston officials say crews are repairing intrusion points in both restaurants, and plan to re-open both City Bistro and Chick-fil-A by Friday morning.

All other campus dining facilities remain open on a regular schedule.

CofC officials say the increased rodent activity recently may be related to the major floods the past few years.

Students and employees living downtown are asked to do their part in battling the problem by reporting any rodent sightings, and to deter rodents by keeping their homes clean and securely storing food.

People can report rodent activity by calling 843-953-5550, or by e-mailing physicalplanthelp@cofc.edu.




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