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GEORGE, Iowa | Forget about bats in the belfry. The discovery of a bat colony in a second-floor office of a northwest Iowa high school is delaying the start of classes for five days. 

George-Little Rock superintendent John Eyerly said Wednesday that an electrician installing a new phone system during the first week of August found evidence of bats while in the second-floor office of the school's liaison officer.

"He was running some wires and things, and during the work he found evidence of the bats," Eyerly said.

Following a special school board meeting, the school contracted with the pest control company Orkin to move forward with the removal of the bats. To allow enough time for the completion of the project, classes will now begin Aug. 28 for all district schools to allow for removal and sterilization. School was previously scheduled to start Aug. 23. 

"I spoke to (Orkin) this morning, and they were on track," Eyerly said. "We maybe could have made it by the first day, but it was like, why risk it." 

Eyerly said the portion of the building with the bats is between 90 and 100 years old. He said he's not sure how long they were in the school, but some people have shared stories of bat sightings from previous years.  

"I’m running into people from the community who said there were bats on occasion," he said. 

Eyerly said student and staff safety were the district's main concerns in moving forward immediately with the cleanup. He said the removal and sterilization, which will also include installation of some new insulation, will run around $50,000. 

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