It’s official. On February 21, Sherrl Kite and I will head south on I-5 to Fife to hook up a 1953 Boles Aero travel trailer to our college pickup truck and tow it back to campus.
Take a moment, if you will, to fully absorb the year of the trailer’s birth. In 1953, Interstate 5 didn’t exist. Anyone on a road trip from Fife to Seattle would have been bumping along what was known at the time as U.S. Route 99. Such a glorious stretch of road in an era infatuated with automobile travel. Motor hotels like the Klose In sprouted up along 99, vying for weary travelers. Northgate, the nation’s first suburban shopping mall with “parking for 3,500 automobiles” was situated so shoppers could easily access it from 99. And Dick’s Drive-In opened its first location just a few blocks east of 99 in Wallingford. Burgers cost 19 cents.
Sixty some years later, we can safely say that the Boles Aero holds its value longer than a Dick’s Deluxe and has fared much better than the Klose In. (“Hey, this place might be shady & cheap, but…if you’re looking for crack, shards, whatever, the front dek (sic) can hook you up,” wrote one recent yelp reviewer.) It’s ready to set out on its new adventure as the Cascadia Collaboratory.
Some Likely Questions:
How did the college pay for the trailer?
The trailer, as well as the majority of its renovation costs, is being paid out of the College Relations budget as an investment in community relations and outreach. SAI funds are being requested to cover the costs of some materials and supplies that will be used by engineering and art students involved in building out the trailer’s interior.
Is our little college Ford whatever capable of pulling a trailer?
Yes, it is. Kim researched the tow capacity of our college pickup and took it to the dealership to get it equipped with the proper hitch. We selected a trailer that will not exceed the gross vehicle weight rating.
Is the college really planning to tow around something that looks like it could have been used in Breaking Bad?
No. The Boles Aero is of a much older vintage than the RV featured in Breaking Bad. But it’ll look classy by the time we’re towing it around the eastside.
Where is it going to be parked?
Terence is working on those details. The plan is to park it in an out-of-the-way campus location during the renovation phase and then move it to a more visible parking place once it’s been all shined up.
What happens next?
Architects at Mithun have volunteered their time and expertise to work with Cascadia to design and renovate the trailer. Students enrolled in specific courses will have the opportunity to be involved in the process during spring and summer quarters.
How will the Collaboratory be used?
The Collaboratory will be available for a variety of purposes. The interior will have a modular design so that furniture can be reconfigured depending on the need. Instructors can use it as a mobile classroom, science lab, computer lab, recording studio, performance stage, art gallery, a newsroom, or maker space. Our president has threatened to drive it to Olympia and use it to hold meetings with our legislators. Student Success Services might take it out to give a seminar on filling out financial aid forms. College Relations can park it at a summer festival and promote the college.
How can you imagine using the Collaboratory to help expand opportunities for students and meet the needs of our greater community?