The second and third floors of the building are rid of the termite infestation that was discovered last summer as two new wooden columns support the roof.
Steel girders are being put in place to run along the existing trusses to permanently take the load of the roof.
"Basically, the entire roof sits on these five trusses," said Roger H. Rendelman, Lee County administrator. "And the trusses hold up the roof along with all the mechanical stuff like the sprinkler system."
The termite problem has forced repairs that have totaled an estimated $400,000. Those costs are covered under the bond of the building, according to Rendelman.
The trusses in the attic of Lee County Courthouse were slowly being eaten away by the infamous Formosan Termite.
"It is definitely Formosan Termites that caused the severe damage to the courthouse," said Dr. Xing Ping Hu, a professor of Entomology at Auburn University and expert on infestations. "The courthouse was renovated in 1976, so it only takes a little more than 20 to 30 years to get to this point again."
Formosan colonies number in the millions, and a Formosan queen can produce 2,000 eggs a day for 15 years.
"The No. 1 factor to attract an infestation of Formosan Termites is moisture," Dr. Hu said. "The courthouse in Opelika had openings where moisture was seeping into the insulation and attracting the termites.
"Good news is, if you keep the building dry with no leaking problem from the roof from anywhere, then the termite will not get back into the attic."
Formosans were an introduced species that came from over seas by ship after World War II to Alabama, Texas, Mississippi and New Orleans.
"When they first got to this country, they were misidentified," Dr. Hu said. "No one knew what they were until the population got out of control and the damage was so severe in all the port cities of the South."
The termites cause almost $1 billion in damages yearly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The majority of that damage has occurred in densely populated areas such as Opelika, and it is not exclusive to the courthouse.
Opelika, under the leadership of Mayor Gary Fuller, has created a termite committee to deal with the Formosan invasion.
"We are doing work on it," Fuller said. "We've gotten several groups involved—the chamber of commerce, the city and the downtown redevelopment authority. We gotta get the property owners involved."
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