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Jane Jankowski
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, September 18, 2003

IU Trustees enter one-year lease extension for operation of Camp Brosius

Indiana University Trustees approved a lease agreement with the IU Alumni Association today (Sept. 18) for continued management of the university's Camp Brosius through October 2004.

In addition, IU President Adam W. Herbert said he would create a task force to conduct a comprehensive study of all aspects of the camp, including operating costs, staffing, capital needs, revenue and other considerations. That study also will address the Alumni Association's proposal that the IU School of Physical Education and Tourism Management, located on the IUPUI campus, assume management of the facility, and another proposal to raise private funds for camp improvements and an endowment to cover operating expenses. The Alumni Association has determined it will not operate the camp beyond the one-year lease.

The Alumni Association has operated the facility in Elkhart Lake, Wis., since 1974 as a summer camp for families. About 900 people use the camp each summer. Academic classes also are conducted for students in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management for two weeks each May. Because of financial concerns and staffing issues, the Alumni Association's Board of Managers had decided earlier this year that it would not seek renewal of its lease to manage the camp when the lease expires Oct. 31, 2003.

"It was our fervent hope that if the trustees wanted a camp to continue at the site, another manager would be found, and the IUAA would work closely to ensure that the transition would be seamless and campers would see little difference in the operation of the facility and its programming," said Ken Beckley, IUAA president and chief operating officer.

Since that decision, IU alumni who have used the camp for many years have contacted the university to express concern about the camp's future. Some showed support by attending and participating in the board's discussion of the issue today.

"Camp Brosius can be an emotional subject. Those of us who have camped there can be quite passionate about it, and we should be," Beckley said. "Thus, it was a very difficult discussion for our Alumni Association Board of Managers to deal with. But while we had to consider the feelings of ourselves and others as campers, our decision on whether the association should be involved in the camp's future had to be reached without emotion."

Beckley said that without contributions from campers and friends of Camp Brosius, the camp would have operated with a negative cash flow in six of the past seven years. The IUAA also absorbed salaries and benefits of $51,000 in the last year for the portion of IUAA permanent staff involved in the camp's operation. In addition, major repairs and improvements are needed at the facility.

"I don't know if it would be better to keep the camp or sell it, but we should study it," said Trustee Peter Obremskey.