The Brookfield Village Board and the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education have inked a facilities sharing agreement that will expand village recreation programming onsite at the high school this summer without cost, eliminates a requirement for the high school to share in field maintenance costs and sets the stage for a significant improvement project at the main baseball diamond at Ehlert Park, where RBHS baseball hosts its home games.
Brookfield and RBHS have shared facilities for years, but the drivers for the new arrangement, approved by the village on May 9 and by the school board on May 10, were the growth of the village’s summer camp program and the need to update the full-size baseball field at Ehlert Park.
“The RB facility usage fee was about what it costs to do the field project, so it just made sense to do the shared services agreement than cut checks to each other,” said Brookfield Recreation Director Stevie Ferrari.
Brookfield’s Department of Parks & Recreation will get the use of one classroom Monday through Friday for 10 weeks this summer, beginning June 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate the 30 to 35 participants in its Teen Camp.
The department will continue to have free access to the RBHS swimming pool throughout the day each Friday for all of its summer campers. The school will provide a lifeguard at no additional charge. RBHS has similar arrangements in place with the villages of North Riverside and Riverside for use of the pool.
Brookfield’s summer camp program has grown steadily since Ferrari arrived to helm the Department of Parks & Recreation in 2018. The village will pay Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District nearly $10,000 this summer to use S.E. Gross Middle School for its Camp Kiwanis summer program for kids in grades K-5.
The school district agreed to lift the maximum number of campers after the village compiled “an incredibly long waiting list,” according to Ferrari. There will be 170 kids in Camp Kiwanis this summer. Older students will go to S.E. Gross while younger campers will attend camp at the village hall.
The department also hosts an early childhood summer camp for about 30 kids at the Recreation House in Ehlert Park and at its water tower building. Another 15 students take part in the Enrichment Camp, which will be held at Hollywood School.
In exchange for use of the classroom and swimming pool this summer, the village is providing RBHS access to athletic fields at Ehlert Park. Varsity and sophomore baseball uses Field 1, and soccer is played on the east and west fields in the Prairie/Vernon section of the park. The cross country team also hosts meets throughout the park.
While the high school contributed staff in the past to prepare and maintain the baseball field, the village will take over those responsibilities from RBHS. Being able to use the classroom at RBHS this summer at no cost will allow the village to fund a $12,000 project to improve Field 1 sometime this year.
Sportsfields Inc. will perform improvements to the infield and outfield warning track, including spreading 22 tons of infield mix conditioned with clay, a semi-trailer load of limestone screening on the warning track and installing a clay brick material on the pitching mound, batters boxes and bullpens to stabilize those surfaces and reduce wear and tear.