The Mobile Literacy Arts Bus (MLAB) is an artist-run, renovated recreational vehicle that exists as a flexible space open to community members’ proposals for alternative educational and cultural programming.

MLAB is the collaborative effort of the 2007-2008 Social Sculpture class at Syracuse University, comprised of 10 art and architecture students and lead by artist and Director of Community Initiatives in the Visual Arts of Syracuse University, Marion Wilson. Our mission was to transform a used, 1984 Recreational Vehicle Bus into a Mobile Literacy and Arts Bus for use by the Syracuse City School District and the greater Syracuse Community. MLAB serves as a physical manifestation of Syracuse University’s Scholarship in Action initiative, by pairing University resources with community needs in an attempt to address the staggering drop out rates in the Syracuse City School District High Schools. Through the School of Education at Syracuse University, incredible curricula that bridge photography, poetry and literacy currently exist within the public schools-- however due to a crisis of space, the schools don't always have the space or resources to house it. MLAB is this space. The bus serves as a mobile classroom, digital photo lab, gallery space, and community center. As a team, we did it all: demolition, design, and construction.

MLAB is made possible from the generous support of the School of Education at Syracuse University and Entitiative.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Week 5: David Harris

David Harris, who first joined our team a few weeks ago, has become pivotal in gaining understanding of our vehicle and it's structure. Here are his observations and suggestions from this past week:

After inspecting the waste water and clean water tanks on the RV my recommendation is to leave them in place and permanently cap off any drains, vents, or supply lines. All the tanks are on the port (driver side) of the RV. Removing them would require a significant effort and we would not gain any additional useable space. If possible the caps should be placed at or below the sub-floor level.

The existing sub-floor can be cut out using a circular saw set to the correct depth and removed around any pipe(s), holes in floor and/or where water damage is. Once the existing sub-floor is removed we can cut the pipes to the desired height and glue caps in place. New pieces of sub-floor (I think we can use half-inch plywood) can then be cut and installed (glued and screwed). Insulation under the sub-floor should be replaced prior to installing the new sub-floor pieces.

Once we have a better idea of the interior design and before we begin fabrication, it probably would be worth spending some time with your electrician friend to help us identify what wiring can be permanently and safely removed from the vehicle as well as his advice on adding on any additional circuits (e.g. extra sockets, lights, and switches). For safety sake and ease of building out the space it would be nice to have every remaining wire and circuit clearly identified and labeled.

David A. Harris
Process Analyst
Enterprise Process Support
Syracuse University

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