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Costly recovery for CCISD after originally neglecting VMHS termite protection

Posted at 9:36 PM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-28 10:54:41-05


 KRIS 6 News is following the developing story regarding termites at Veterans Memorial High School.

The Corpus Christi Independent School District paid Elite Exterminating nearly $200,000 to get rid of termites at the school this summer.

Documents show termites were found in multiple areas across the VMHS campus.

Based on figures provided by pest control experts, it would have been far cheaper had CCISD paid for termite treatment while Veterans Memorial was being built.

One school board member acknowledged this, and called it a major flaw.

“It’s standard to prevent the situation that we now have costing $200,000,” trustee Dr. Tony Diaz said. “When they do the pre-treatment in the soil, it’s a lot less expensive than now.”

With cost estimates from experts, KRIS 6 News found it would have cost the district less than $40,000 to treat the school before construction began. When you compare those figures to the nearly $200,000 bill, it’s easy to see why taxpayers are concerned.

“Keep our kids safe. It’s a brand new building,” VMHS parent Linda Sifuentes said. ” Let’s take care of it. Let’s not let it get run down like everything else around here.”

Another parent was even more blunt.

“It’s common sense to take care of the problem before the building goes up,” she said. “It should have been treated, because they really destroy wood, and it’s going to cost more in the long run to make any repairs. It should have been done in the beginning.”

The manager of Elite Exterminating said it was alarming to hear that no pre-treatment for termites was done during the construction phase of the $93 million dollar school. At the time of its construction, it was the most expensive school ever built in Corpus Christi.

“South Texas is as red as it gets on the government standard of termite infestations,” Debbie Aguirre said.

Aguirre added her company had to do significant damage control to fix the problem when they were hired three years after the school was built. She said the infestation could have been prevented had CCISD officials done their homework.

“It’s just unfortunate that somebody, somewhere made a mistake in not understanding how important in South Texas it is to have a pre-treatment. Most especially in a building this size, with this type of construction,” Aguirre said. “Big no-no. It should not have been done. Why that was done? That’s a question for somebody that makes those decisions during the construction process.”

Multiple school board members told KRIS 6 News Tuesday, they weren’t even aware of the termite issue at Veterans Memorial until they saw our report on Monday. However, they all approved the costly termite repairs as a consent agenda item earlier this year.

On Tuesday, CCISD officials confirmed pre-treatment for termites at Veterans Memorial High School was part of the original construction plan at the school, but treatments were never completed in order to cut costs.

A CCISD spokesperson said in the future, all campuses will be pre-treated for termites before construction.