The Riverside-Brookfield High School softball team will have a new home field this spring and North Riverside residents will be able to swim in the high school’s pool free of charge on Sundays.
That’s the result of an intergovernmental agreement unanimously approved last week by the District 208 Board of Education.
RBHS’ lower-level baseball home games and all softball home games will be played at Veteran’s Park in North Riverside this spring. Varsity baseball games will continue to be played at Jaycee/Ehlert Park in Brookfield.
Previously, softball and lower-level baseball home games mostly were played on the two fields located just north of the school. But those fields are on land owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Brookfield Zoo, which is owned by the forest preserve district and is operated by Chicago Zoological Society, uses the fields for overflow parking. Sometimes on warm spring days, the school is left scrambling to find a place to play softball or baseball games when the zoo decides to use the fields for overflow parking.
As a result, school officials began looking for other places to play and began discussions with Brookfield about using a field at Ehlert Park. But, because of prevailing wage laws, it would have cost the school about $16,000 or $17,000 to prepare the fields for high school play.
That’s when the village of North Riverside stepped in. District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis bumped into North Riverside village Trustee Hubert Hermanek at a wrestling meet and discussions ensued.
North Riverside agreed to skin a couple fields at Veterans Park for free, and in return the school agreed to let North Riverside residents use the high school’s pool on Sundays.
“This is really cost-neutral,” Skinkis said. “I think it’s really a win-win for the district right now.”
The village of North Riverside will maintain the fields. The only out-of-pocket costs for District 208 are the cost of a security guard and two lifeguards on Sundays when the pool is open for North Riverside residents.
Skinkis and District 208 school board president Matt Sinde praised Hermanek and his fellow North Riverside village board member, Vera Wilt, for making the deal happen.
“This agreement is going to help both the people of North Riverside and our students,” Sinde said.
Skinkis said that the school will continue to work with the village of Brookfield and thanked Brookfield village officials for their work in trying to work out an arrangement.
“Rick Ginex from the village of Brookfield has been very cooperative in working with us,” Skinkis said.
But the deal offered by North Riverside was just too attractive to pass up. RBHS has played some home games at Veterans Park in the past, Skinkis said.