Beetles invade Ocala elementary school cafeteria

Repairs will cost Anthony Elementary $165K, according to officials

OCALA, Fla. - Beetles have infested the cafeteria of Anthony Elementary School in Ocala, causing the students to eat lunch in their classrooms and stay out of the cafeteria.

Although the cafeteria is still safe to prepare meals, it is under construction, according to school officials, so students can't eat in there.

Ryan Bennett, principal at Anthony Elementary, says construction crews noticed the bug invasion while the school was undergoing renovations during the summer.

"The original plan was to bring the cafeteria floor to the original 1936 wood floors," Bennette said. "When they did that they realized there was some damage."

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That damage was being caused by powderpost beetles eating away at the wood. The repairs will cost the school $165,000 in repairs, which is coming out of an already thinly stretched budget, according to Bennette.

"This was something that wasn't planned so this is costing extra and could affect some of the other schools in line to get some upgrades," Bennette said.

Rhonda Wims' son attends Anthony Elementary and she said the construction has her frustrated.

"I'm waiting on them to finish because it's really a safety hazard," Wims said. "The whole construction has got kids thrown off. They are eating in their classrooms. It's a big difference."

The cafeteria is scheduled to open back up in January.

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