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New Business Aims For Albion Landing Defunct Campus Could House Studio, ‘Starships’

Tue., Dec. 2, 1997

When the mother ship lands and the aliens climb out, they’ll look like customers to Shane Shradley.

“I’m happy,” said Shradley, who runs the Albion Social Club with his wife. “It’s business.”

Albion, a remote Cassia County community of about 300 residents, long has lain in the shadow of the defunct Albion Normal School. Once an academy for Idaho’s teachers, the buildings have been largely idle since 1951, when the school was closed due to a state budget crisis.

But a contract signed by a Boise investor could bring new life - the terrestrial kind - to the old campus. Thayne Ellsworth’s plan is to use the school as an actors’ training ground and a headquarters for a fleet of virtual “starships.”

Made up of several semi-trailers, each starship and crew would travel the country, “touching down” in mall parking lots and county fairgrounds to entertain the locals.

Ellsworth admits its a far-out idea. But for at least a few Albion folks, it’s a welcome one.

“We can’t wait for it to start,” Shradley said.

Across the street from Shradley’s business, at the Albion Git-N-Go Deli, Sarah Meyer, 19, said the idea sounded cool. Meyer lives in Declo but works at the deli. She said she hopes the influx of people will help expand Pomerelle Ski Resort, where she snowboards as often as possible.

Some people in Albion are reserving their opinions until the idea takes off. “I think it would be wonderful to have something in the college,” said Christine Petersen, who works at Dick’s Albion Service, about 200 yards from the college’s entrance. “But I think it needs to be productive to everyone.”


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