A modest proposal

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I donít often times give myself the luxury of having opinions in public about things I cover.

Itís not my job.

It helps that regarding a lot of the things I have covered ó the long fight over the school construction bond (and everything since, including the recent squabble over the Road L elementary school), the quality of the water in Moses Lake ó I really donít have an opinion.

But as I have watched Boeing fly in and park increasing number of 737 MAX airplanes here ó what Grant County International Airport Director Rich Mueller once jokingly described as his ďairplane collectionĒ ó over the course of the last few months, I think we in Moses Lake have been provided an opportunity to solve several pressing community problems at once.

So hear me out.

The Moses Lake School District needs a new elementary school. Quite badly. The district is having to rejigger school boundaries for a couple of years in order to make things work while they find a place to build a new school.

Why not use some of the 737 MAX planes sitting out at the airport? Thereís no shortage of them, so you could have one classroom per plane. Theyíve got toilets, and something resembling a galley for hot breakfast and lunch, and inflatable emergency slides for fun at recess.

(I think we can all agree that running around on the wings, while great exercise, is a very bad idea.)

The tray tables would make good desks, the in-flight entertainment system for multi-media presentations. The planes are not likely to go anywhere anytime soon, so students could keep things in the seat pockets in front of them.

ďSeat backs and tray tables up!Ē could be the new ritual at the end of the school day.

And I figure a class or two could make customizing the livery of a plane or two with crayons and watercolors a nifty project. You know, like how Braniff Airlines used to paint some of their planes back in the 1970s.

However, why stop there? A few of these planes would make a fantastic ďReal World Academy,Ē especially given the school district wants to start an aviation maintenance program. And they might even present a possible solution to the cityís affordable housing problem!

Sure, at an average of $100 million per aircraft, the school district isnít buying any of them. But they could pay rent, which is more than Boeing is getting for any of these planes right now.

And Iím certain South China Airlines, as an example, would be happy to know their planes were being put to a good use as they sit on the ground in the Columbia Basin awaiting a software update. You know, once they scrub the scribbles and handprints from the emergency doors.

Itís a win-win for everyone.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com. His dream is to decorate an entire airplane in crayon.

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