District Board and staff seek new solutions to software issue

The Elmhurst Park District Board and staff share the frustration felt by residents on Saturday and we sincerely apologize that once again it took an unacceptable amount of time for some to register for programs. We were hopeful that we had found a solution that would work for our residents and were disheartened that that was not the case.

The District’s current registration software provider is Vermont Systems, Inc. VSI is one of the leading software providers in the parks and recreation industry, and currently they have hundreds of similar clients. However, back in February, after seven consecutive successful registrations, a glitch occurred in their software that caused a lot of frustration for residents.

As a result, District Board and staff spent considerable time troubleshooting with VSI staff and eventually came to the decision to move to a hosted solution rather than host the software on the District’s on premise servers. The rationale behind this change was that the larger size of VSI’s servers would provide more room and flexibility during big registration events such as this past Saturday. VSI staff would be available to monitor the server during registration, and their knowledge and expertise with the software would theoretically allow them to catch issues quickly if they occurred.

Fall registration was held this past Saturday, August 4, at 8:00 am. By 7:59 am, more than 1,000 people were logged into the system. Just 20 minutes later, more than 1,500 registrations had already been processed, but that was irrelevant to the users who were experiencing unacceptably slow speeds as yet another glitch occurred with the VSI software. What should have taken minutes took some users more than an hour, which is completely unacceptable.

Despite all the District’s recent efforts, it is now readily apparent that VSI is not capable of meeting the needs of the Elmhurst community at this point in time. As a result, from this point forward, staff will look at a different way to process the first day of registration until we are able to identify a better solution that will meet the needs of our residents.

As we do each season, staff this week will begin adding class sessions where possible to accommodate participants on waitlists.

The Board’s ad hoc IT committee will meet with staff this week to discuss short and long term alternatives and will continue to communicate with residents as additional information becomes available.