Executive Content Editor
Students approaching the first floor of the Pardall Center for a place to study this week were granted with a disappointing sight: its temporary closure.
In an email to Associated Students executives, entities, and staff on Monday, Assistant Director for Community Affairs, Student Engagement and Advocacy Aaron Jones announced the closure, effective immediately. The temporary closure is due to rat excrement and remains that could pose a potential health hazard for people inhabiting the building.
“Environmental Health & Safety and Ventura Pest Control looked further and realized the extent of the materials, feces, urine, and carcasses was far more extensive than previously thought,” Jones said to The Bottom Line following the meeting that determined the temporary closure.
The health hazard is located in between the first and second floor tiles.
The Isla Vista Tenants Union and Legal Resource Center, which are located on the second floor of the Pardall Center, remain open through this time. Ventura Pest Control will begin cleanup next Monday, when the entire building will close down for approximately 3-4 days, according to Jones’s email.
In the email, Jones wrote that the cleanup had originally been scheduled for winter break to avoid disturbing work and study habits. However, it has been moved up after further inspection from Environmental Health & Safety and Ventura Pest Control.
“This poses a much more significant health threat than we thought,” Jones wrote in the email.
Rats and mice can carry hantaviruses, symptoms of which can range from muscle pain and fevers to vomiting and diarrhea. A person contracts a hantavirus by touching or breathing in rat droppings, urine, or nesting materials. Jones says that the public should not worry, however, as A.S. is taking care of the problem immediately.
Exterminators had previously worked on the Pardall Center, stemming the flow of the problem.
“We were made aware last academic year that there was a rat problem,” Jones said to The Bottom Line. “We had exterminators come in last year and they set traps, patched up holes, and encouraged us to keep doors shut.”
A.S. has begun working on prevention measures for when the center re-opens.
“We’re encouraging all individuals using the Pardall Center to be mindful of not leaving food around,” Jones said. “We’ve doubled down on efforts to take trash out and wipe down tables.”
Individuals who see any environmental hazards on the UCSB campus are encouraged to report it to the Environmental Health & Safety department via their online Hazard Reporting Form.