Fittest loser
Article updated: 8/11/2011 6:34 PM

Field pacts causing some frustrations in Glen Ellyn

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Glenbard West High School only has about 10 acres of available field space on its Glen Ellyn campus.

That's why student-athletes can often be found practicing and playing games at three nearby parks -- the result of agreements struck between Glenbard High School District 87 and Glen Ellyn Park District.

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But park officials recently expressed frustration with the arrangement, arguing the school district should pay more to repair fields that have been heavily used by its teams.

"We have to work out an equitable deal," said park board Vice President Jay Kinzler at a recent meeting. "The amount of damage of the football team is way more than 5-year-olds playing soccer. That has to be put into the formula of who is paying what."

He characterized the current deal as "a one-way street."

The two sides have three intergovernmental agreements on the books that give Glenbard West use of Newton Park for football, Village Green Park for baseball, and Ackerman Park for softball and soccer.

And it's because the fields get so much use from season to season that there's little chance before winter to restore the turf, according to a park district outdoor athletic field report released in July.

At Village Green, park district staff has prepared baseball fields in advance of Glenbard West game or practice dates without a charge back, the report stated.

The school district pays $50,000 a year to use those fields to begin with, but interim Park Director Mike Fugiel said those funds aren't enough to pay for more significant improvements.

"We've got limited financial resources," Fugiel said. "We maintain 18 baseball fields. We can't dump it all into (those) baseball diamonds."

Rod Molek, Glenbard's assistant superintendent for human resources and student services, said the school district's payment for use of Village Green has been a "significant investment" that has contributed to capital improvements at the park.

He says the school district is trying to be a good partner with the park district, which has been helpful in addressing space needs at Glenbard West.

"We are committed to working with the park district because they're an essential part of providing field space for the extracurricular programs at West," Molek said.

A deal signed in 1999 gives the park district use of several Glenbard properties, though Fugiel says some of those uses have changed.

For instance, the park district gets use of the Glenbard South gymnastics room, but the competitive cheerleading program held there was canceled this season because of a lack of interest, officials said.

They also said they're upset that the park district only had use of four out of the eight tennis courts at Glenbard West because of resurfacing.

The park district is paying $160,000 for use of the new synthetic turf at Glenbard West's Memorial Field, though the park district report recommends the current schedule be adjusted since there isn't a need to use the field in the early spring months.

One of the three agreements calls for an annual review of field usage at Memorial Field. That meeting is set to take place next month.

Fugiel said he'd like to consolidate all agreements into one, and have one big annual meeting to go over all field issues. Carol Stream Park District staff is currently working with Glenbard officials on putting their four agreements into one.

While issues may arise over the course of the year from both parties, Molek said the two districts have a good relationship where they can touch base with each other and work things out.

"We will have discussions with the park district and try to see what would be best for both of us in future, try to come to a consensus and go from there," Molek said.

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