Historic schoolhouse gets free lesson on termite control

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John Cooksey at McCall Services in Jacksonville, Florida, shares how the Sentricon® system was used to protect a schoolhouse built in 1889 from termites. 

The Old Mandarin Schoolhouse is a labor of love for John Cooksey, the chief operating officer of McCall Services in Jacksonville, Florida. The 600-square-foot schoolhouse, built in 1889 as part of the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Mandarin, Fla., harbored children of freed black slaves after the Civil War. It has been moved many times over the years and is now owned by the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society, for which Cooksey once served as president.

“This was one of the projects I was working on before I was even the president,” Cooksey says. “They’ve now finally raised enough money to relocate the building. It was moved to a park owned by the city. Mandarin is a part of Jacksonville with huge, historic oak trees, so they had to take the roof off the building in order to move it without damaging the trees.”

The historical society raised $100,000 to move the building 3.2 miles to its new home at Walter Jones Historical Park, Cooksey says. Once repaired, the schoolhouse will serve as a museum.

The historic building was in dire need of termite protection. To help, Dow AgroSciences and McCall Services provided the Sentricon® System with Always Active™ technology.

“The building has both subterranean and drywood termite damage,” Cooksey says. “The damage is mainly contained to the bottom support beams for the building. The termites have gotten into one of the sides of the building and an 8-by-8-inch beam that supports the structure. It’s been eaten very badly. All the repairs were done first, and then we installed Sentricon.”

Donating the labor for this job was a no-brainer, he says.

“My two brothers and I own this company. We all grew up in Mandarin and we all feel very strongly about maintaining the historic significance of this building,” Cooksey says.