Central wants more than $1 million for athletic field

Groan. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, Elmbrook taxpayers.

Tonight the Elmbrook School Board will discuss the long-range capital budget for the next year. This wish list contains the following for Central:

Groomer & vacuum for field – $16,000
Replace visitor bleachers – $300,000
Replace press boxes (2) – $300,000
Construct concession stand/bathrooms – $500,000
Construct storage building – $100,000
Sectional bleachers for secondary game field – $50,000
Improve tennis storage – $15,000

Only the first, a purchase for for that fabulous artificial field that the booster club never paid for, is being approved this year. The others are lined up in waiting. The fake field cost $827,152 and the club was to raise half. Still no word on when the booster club will actually pay their debt off. Until then, taxpayers are stuck because of the decision of the board. (Remember voters, Meg Wartman told the paper this field was a “good investment for the district.”)

East is set next year to renovate the soccer stadium. The East booster club is having much more success in maintaining their financial commitments. I guess that’s why they will receive $125,000 in matching funds from the district. Their last project, a concession stand and restrooms now coveted by Central, was about $200,000. Half of that was raised by the club. (So why is Central planning for $500,000?)

Other items deferred on the East list:

Design of north athletic fields – $40,000
Replace portable bleachers for softball – $12,000

A third item labeled priority 3: replace outdoor storage facility – $300,000

Take a full look at this list and you’ll find air conditioning for Burleigh, Swanson, and the gyms at Brookfield El and Dixon. Swanson also has a “heating upgrade” on their list. I suspect that will be the opening for A/C there, much like it has been at Pilgrim Park Middle School. Wisconsin Hills, under the guidance of Robyn Martino, did not ask for air conditioning. Remember, these are currently labeled priority 2 which means they didn’t get funded, but we all know it’s only a matter of time.

There’s not a lot going into Tonawanda and Hillside. That’s interesting to me considering the on-going discussion of consolidating grade schools. Also, there are lighter needs at the high schools because of the recently passed referendum. You know, the one that moved Brookfield up a couple of notches on the list of highest taxes in Waukesha County.


  1. The heating system at Swanson can be disruptive–flooded classrooms, for instance. I would certainly put it toward the top of my list.

  2. Did the city cover the cost when East’s field was destroyed by a vandal?

    Why do we continue to give Central all the benefit?

  3. Oh yeah… there is ABSOLUTELY no need for a press box above the visitor bleachers…. Coaches at the collegiate level share press boxes on the home side.

  4. I don’t think it would be the city’s responsibility. Maybe insurance covered it eventually?

    (PS the president of the school board sends her kids to Central.)

  5. Significant cuts need to be made to our budget, but they are discussing a/c and field upgrades??? Did I miss something? A windfall, perhaps?

  6. What the hell is a groomer and vacuum?

    Better yet, why are you Brookfield people dropping 16 grand on it?

  7. Now granted these are wishful things, but I’m kind of wondering why they get to make a list at all. To me it screams volumes about the district priorities.

    (Libby, it’s great to hear from you! Godspeed.)

  8. J. Strupp –

    With FieldTurf, you have to clean it just like you would any other rug. The colored pieces of plastic ‘grass’ used to make the lines and logos get strewn across the green ‘grass’ with regular use. Carroll had Field Turf installed before my senior year. You want to know our solution to a groomer and vacuum? After a Friday practice the day before a home game, we lined the whole team up at the south end line, and slowly walked the length of the field picking up stray pieces and garbage that had blown in. Saved the school THOUSANDS on a professional cleaning service. Took roughly 20 mins every other friday. How about that BCHS Prancers… I mean Lancers.

  9. You made me laugh, Dan.

  10. You learn something everyday! I thought maybe it was for sucking up that black stuff that seems to jump out from the turf when a guy drags his feet like you see in the NFL every Sunday.

  11. Just so you know that ‘black stuff’ is recycled tire rubber! Pain in the you-know-what to get out of all your nooks and crannies post-game.

    You don’t want to suck that stuff up! In fact every couple of years the field turf installers have to come by and re-lay some new rubber!

  12. You have to remember where this wish list is coming from. Most often it doesn’t start with the Board. In most districts it starts with the administrators. But it is up to the Board to question it and make the decision to say Yes or No.

    Of course they will weigh citizen input, won’t they? Every good Board does : ) Not every Board kowtows to the administration.

  13. Curious if by “sends” her kids to Central you mean they should be at East?

  14. No, they are in Central’s boundaries. Her loyalty is there.

  15. Ok gotcha. I could have looked up their address and the map (my memory seems to be saying “Whippletree” but i’m not sure if that’s her or another useless elected official) and find out for sure, but I figured you knew.

    …which reminds me again why i am glad i went to East and not Central.

  16. It all just stinks. Why have their athletic programs always been favored?

  17. Because their side of the city is more Brookfieldy.

  18. HELLO!!!!

    As I mentioned last year on this blog and Brookfieldnow, West Allis consolidated it’s Athletic fields by using West Allis Central’s football field to build a library, then building a press box on the visitors side of West Allis Hale field. The second press box became Central’s press box. My suggestion was a fair way to save taxpayer money for Elmbrook. It seems the suggestion may have gotten someone’s attention, but it looks like they are not being “fair and balanced”.

    Ultimately this could decrease cost at East, and apply the funds to offset the $200,000 + the Lancer boosters failed to come up with. Then upgrade the Central facility, allowing East to use it 4 times a year, but East ends up paying for half the upkeep and upgrades.

    Then return the swamp (East football field) to mother nature, or use it as soccer fields for brookfield and elm grove soccer clubs.

    East then would have storage facilities at Central (just like the new one being built at West Allis Hale for the West Allis Central kids).

    The difference with West Allis and Brookfield though, is West Allis Central has a very large field house, and Hale does not. It “evens things up”.

    In Brookfield, it seems both schools will have similar field houses, but Central will have the $2,000,000 football field, which East can use a few days out of the year.

    Central can accept open enrollment and 220 kids that play football, while Brookfield East children who would prefer the better football facilities at Central will not be allowed access via open enrollment.

    Things that make you go HMMMMMMMMM.

  19. I went to Hale, and part of the upgrades included new visitors bleachers, which became West Allis Central’s “Home Bleachers” when they got rid of Central’s football field.

    The domino theory is still alive, – Tonawanda and Hillside moves to Pilgim Park, PPMS to East, East to Central, with the new $2,000,000 football stadium.

    Add $1,000,000 for an inflatable bubble, and you have a large facility for graduation and a for East students to attend classes (TIC).

  20. So Central can just “borrow” the money for upgrades but East had to fundraise for upgrades. I donated a lot of my time to make sure east football players after me would have their own facility. No way we go back to sharing fields. If you like Stallis so much, move there.

  21. Brookfieldy? C’mon. This is the kind of thinking that got us the proposal to tear down both high schools. Why spend this kind of money on athletics at all?

  22. Kathryn – you must never have been an athlete. Did you get picked on by jocks?

  23. Nope. Our jocks were brainy, like yourself, and well behaved. We had grass, some bleachers, and some painted lines. If it rained, we had mud.

    I’m not opposing athletics, but millions of dollars for an extracurricular sport seems excessive when we are trimming academic programs with regularity.

  24. Dan, that’s not the first time you’ve asked that of someone who is skeptical of spending millions (yes, millions) on athletics.

    I find it sad that we can raise hundreds of thousands for athletics but near zilch for any academic programs.

  25. Oh well, it’s just a wish list, as Janet reminded us.

  26. Dan, I am only the messenger. No need to go back to Stallis, I live there.

    Point is if you connect the dots, they seem to be pointing to a shared football field.

    New visitors bleachers (check)
    New visitors press box (check)
    New storage building (check)
    New concession stand and bathrooms (check)

    Now if the visitors bleachers and press box include blue, white, and red paint, it’s a done deal.

    It seems obvious that East upgrades are on the north fields (soccer) and Softball. $12,000 is not enough for lights.

    I do not think it is fair. I am not in favor of one facility. I am just pointing out the obvious similarity to the Stallis reality.

    Oh, and Janet, this school board not only does anything the administration asks for, they ask the administration to cover for their incompetence.

  27. Kathryn and Lorax,

    Why wouldn’t the district invest in athletics?

    They obviously will not invest in academics and safety.

    Remember, they increase non resident enrollment, do not invest in safety (PPMS beatings and cover up).

    And now we will hear they are laying off 29 teachers.

    I believe the teachers don’t have a contract, and neither do the school aids. Lower their benefits, and raise the Administrators benefits, I think that is how it goes.

    The loss of 29 teachers covers about 550 students. Did they just get some news that more residents are fed up and pulling their kids?

    The number of seats open to nonresidents is at 12% and could go up dependent on next years resident enrollment.

    Maybe the economy, and additional tax burden due to the District’s implementation of the $108,000,000 referendum are forcing residents out of the district due to foreclosure, or maybe they are taking into account the number of resident child/students who will be beaten and abused at district middle schools this year.

  28. Mike – I still don’t agree with you. Are you aware that they used to share the field at Central? Formerly “District Field”? East raised funds for new bleachers of their own, had a new press box put in within the last 3 years, and recently resurfaced the track. East also recently built a concession stand with bathrooms. They won’t be sharing any time soon.

  29. Dan,

    I hope you are right. I was not aware of “district field”.

    I just see these requests for further building, while the Central Boosters already defaulting on their last commitment, looks really fishy in this economic climate.

    I have heard through a friend of mine that the Elmbrook District just does what they want.

  30. Mike – the reason Im so opinionated on the issue is that I was a BEHS grad back in ’03 and was very active in the fundraising org East 2000 and Beyond ( I was in it when they just called it East 2000!). There was a time when BEHS had no lights or away bleachers, but significant improvements have been made to the facility. All thats left is improving the football TEAM. Ha.

  31. Layoffs–not a done deal yet. There are various committees making recommendations, palatable and unpalatable. The district calendar lists three listening sessions in March; two on the eleventh and one on the twelveth. It’s our chance to tell them what we think.

    As an aside, 20 to 30 percent of our students are gifted in one or more subject areas. That is about 10 times the state and national average. Chances are one of those children is someone you know. Parents, go to the upcoming spring conferences, even if the teacher said no conference is needed at this time. Ask the teacher how s/he is differentiating to meet the needs of your child. If the teacher can’t tell you, ask your principal what training and support that teacher receives. Ask how much time your school alots to the GT coordinator to support differentiation. Ask how the school plans to correct the situation for your child.