LeTourneau University restores giant roller skate

Students are working to repair a giant rollerskate that formerly stood outside of the Longview Rollercade. (Source: Bob Hallmark)
Students are working to repair a giant rollerskate that formerly stood outside of the Longview Rollercade. (Source: Bob Hallmark)

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - It was once one of the most familiar landmarks in Longview: a car-sized motorized roller skate mounted on stilts outside the city's roller rink.

The passage of time changed the landscape, and the skate disappeared for a while. The skate was retired four years ago when the Rollercade closed, but the owner delivered it to the LeTourneau University automotive society workshop for a facelift.

"This is very unusual. I mean, usually they do cars for missionary trips; this is the first time we've restored a classic piece of Longview art. It needs an engine and mostly mechanical things: the brakes, the transmission," says LETU professor of mechanical engineering Jonathan Demko.

"When we found out there was a giant skate on wheels it was like OK wow," says LeTourneau student Maryamu Samdi.

The plan is for the automotive society students to restore it to a functioning motorized vehicle to be used for special occasions.

"It's a Volkswagen chassis and they're looking for a Volkswagen engine to put into it," Demko says.

The Longview ISD art department will finish the aesthetics but LETU students will make it roadworthy.

"I really want to be the person to drive this. This is really cool," Samdi says.

The vehicle is expected to be restored and running in time to appear in a parade in spring.

Longview ISD said students are excited about the project.

"The Longview High School Art Car Club delivered the Rollercade Skate Car to the Automotive Society to work on the mechanical side of the restoration. The students were very excited to work on a piece of Longview's history.

Once the LETU Auto Society has completed their work, the LHS Art Car Club will start their work on the aesthetic restoration in Room 611 of the Fine Arts building at Longview High School. 

The owner of the Rollercade donated the Skate Car to the Art Car Club after the close of the Rollercade to preserve it's piece of history.

"I assured him I would not sell it or try to make a profit from it, I would only maintain it as part of Longview's story," said Jeff Hull, Longview High School Art Teacher.  "That is what this restoration project is about. We want it to run again so it can continue to be a part of Longview's story." Hull hopes to have the skate car in parades and car shows for families to enjoy.

Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.