Quintessential Barrington

The Home Field Advantage

by Lisa Stamos | Photo: Susan McConnell

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There’s a lot of research about the dynamics of having a home field advantage in sports. The debates and discussions carry on with various conclusions, some that even question the truth and validity of realizing any benefits of being on the home field. Even so, when we have that advantage on a Barrington school field, or in the home gym, our energy and hopes rise as we anticipate a win for our team.

Barrington 220 has a new home field advantage – and now a significant win – thanks to Tom Wamberg and family, a long-time Barrington Hills resident now living in Florida, whose seven children with Dede Wamberg traveled District 220 school hallways over the course of two decades.

That advantage? It’s a new home field, literally – a once-in-several-generations gift of donated land spanning 11.25 acres that is neatly situated across Hart Road from Barrington High School. Once decisions are made about the parcel’s use, and the brush and buckthorn are replaced with community-driven strategic plans, we’ll realize how priceless a gift this is. A fair market value of this land cannot express the strategic value of having newfound space adjacent to a landlocked high school, one without options, until now.

“It’s an asset that came to us,” says Leonard. “I was absolutely thrilled when I received the call. We feel that we have some space for future use located at the elementary and middle schools in the district. But not at the high school,” he said.

Time is on the district’s side for determining how the field will be used and the possibilities are endless. Flexibility and latitude are the name of the game now, as this land can play into a thoughtful and long-term district master plan. Board President Brian Battle notes that all of the major decisions have been and will continue to be open and transparent, including this one. And with a community-elected school board, it will be a team effort. Depending on its determined use, the land’s final purpose may require a referendum. Battle assures that this will take time, likely many years.

“Sitting on the school board, I’ve seen the strong impact of our community,” says Battle. “I’ve observed the generosity of school PTOs, and parents giving their time, money, and other donations. We have an amazing community that supports our schools and has pride in them. This is the most significant donation to our district in recent memory and speaks so well of Tom [Wamberg] who has reinforced that generosity.”

“It’s humbling,” Battle says.

Wonderful gifts usually are.

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Lisa Stamos is the publisher of Quintessential Barrington.