ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - One of the largest and most iconic buildings in St. Augustine started looking a lot different Thursday. The Lightner Building, which houses City Hall and the Lightner Museum, is getting tented for termites.
It's a complex project because the building is historic and so big.
"When we drove up, I was absolutely stunned," said Monroe Smith of St. Augustine. "I just said, 'Wow! What are they doing?' It does look like a circus tent!"
Jim Piggot is the general services director for the City of St. Augustine. He said, "We haven't done this for 15 plus years."
Crews started putting up tarps in the back Thursday where the Lightner Museum is and were working their way up to the front of the building where City Hall stands.
"It's over 90,000 square feet," Piggot said.
Termites were the issue. They even started eating some of the priceless artifacts in the museum.
The size of the building means lots of tarps and even more clips to hook them together.
Roger Mensing of Pestgaurd said there will be 30,000 clips used on the building.
His company out of Sarasota and Rivers Pest Control out of Jacksonville are draping the tarps and clipping them together.
This historic building, dating to the 1880's, is tricky to tent. Mensing said, it's "because of the architecture of the structure. It creates it's own challenges."
Crews aim to be careful, but up to 10 percent of the red tile roof could be damaged during the process.
"The workers are walking on the tile and that's where the damage comes from," Piggot said. "They have to walk on the tile and make sure the whole building is covered."
The city is footing the whole fumigation bill of $385,000.
So that businesses inside the building can reopen for the tourist traffic on July 4th, the tarps come off soon.
"Monday by 6 is our drop dead date," Piggot said.
Drop dead to be done with fumigation and to kill those termites. However, the infamous ghosts get to stay.
"All the ghosts will remain in the building," Piggot laughed. "We're not touching the ghosts."
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