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'Fund the Flush' works for bathrooms, concessions at Central sports fields

Central4Ward trying to raise $1.2 million

Nov. 20, 2012

The second phase of a four-phase, $1.2 million plan to build and refurbish Brookfield Central's sports facilities is under way - with a campaign name that perfectly describes half the need.

"Fund the Flush" aims to support the construction of a pavilion that will house permanent restrooms and a concession stand by raising $210,000. If the campaign successfully reaches its goal by April 1, construction will be completed by the fall.

The campaign is run by Central4Ward, and the district will cover the remaining portion of the $318,000 price tag for the facility.

"The pavilion will allow for a much more comfortable spectator and student experience when attending outdoor athletic events at Brookfield Central," said Tom Knopp, Central4Ward chairman.

Filling a need

Knopp, a parent of three Elmbrook School District students, said the need for a facility upgrade has been apparent for years.

"The district currently operates on campus with portable johns and a shack for concessions," he said. "We operate well below our peers."

It is critical, he said, to meet the April 1 deadline because missing it would push the project out another year. Construction and the refurbishment of facilities needs to be coordinated with the demands of the school year.

Raising most of the money for the first-phase goal of building an on-campus baseball stadium has been a success, Knopp said.

"We have hired a company that is one of the leaders in installing field turf," Knopp said. "We'll have an all-synthetic infield and a natural grass outfield."

He noted that the foundations for the dugouts are in and that those structures will be completed in spring.

The key to the success, Knopp said, is that the campaign precedes the construction. In fact, Central4Ward is the second such booster group to raise money in recent years. The former BC Squared group raised money for the completed football stadium in 2006, but still owed $121,000.

Retiring debt

When Central4Ward approached the School Board last spring with its new venture and asking for a one-third fiscal partnership, it promised that it would retire the previous debt.

The debt was repaid before the start of this school year.

"We needed to do that and then look for funds before construction started," Knopp said. With the help of an anonymous donor, he said, the group raised $300,000 in less than 90 days.

"The response has been great," Knopp said. "People see the needs and, once they learn about our plans, they have been on board. The key continues to be: state the need, set a deadline and not move forward until we have raised the required funds."

Staying competitive

The baseball stadium and its creature comforts have been the centerpiece of the project. Central currently plays its home games at nearby McCoy Field, but Knopp and Todd Sobrilsky, Central's athletic director, said that's a shortcoming.

"We have talked to a lot of people who want to have a baseball stadium at the school," Knopp said. "It will give people the best possible experience, and Central would be able to host tournaments."

Because the baseball stadium is slated for completion in early 2013, the school's conference tournament and the WIAA sectional tournament is scheduled to be played there.

"McCoy has been a nice field for us to use, but there is nothing like having your own field on your own site right outside your back door," Sobrilsky said. "Expectations are high that we will put on a first-class experience.

"The money that has been raised and will be raised will give us a very nice complex."

The last two phases of Central4Ward's campaign would fund renovation and replacement of the current tennis facility and girl's softball venue as well as add new walkways and other site improvements.

"We are just getting started with this second phase, but we hope to capture the same kind of excitement for the rest of the project phases as we did in the beginning," Knopp said.

Get involved

WHAT: Central4Ward's Fund the Flush campaign

GOAL:$210,000 by April 1

DONATE: Go to Razoo.com and type "Brookfield" in search box.

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