Is a domed sports complex feasible in Wilton? Firm hired to conduct study

Photo of J.D. Freda
The proposed sports complex in Wilton has been said to draw inspiration from the Danbury Sports Dome on Shelter Rock Lane in Danbury.

The proposed sports complex in Wilton has been said to draw inspiration from the Danbury Sports Dome on Shelter Rock Lane in Danbury.

Carol Kaliff / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — A consulting firm has been hired to conduct a study to determine whether an indoor domed sports complex is feasible in town.

Wilton residents Scott Lawrence and J.R. Sherman initially presented the idea in March to the Board of Selectmen for a project to bring full-sized turf fields and basketball courts under an indoor domed structure. They explained it would be useful for town residents and also could attract leagues from around the region to practice and hold tournaments.

The Wilton Board of Selectmen has approved Stantec Sports Group, a Boston-based sports consulting service, to conduct a full study of the area behind the Comstock Community Center, at 180 School Road, where the project is slated to be built.

According to a letter sent by Stantec officials to Steve Pierce, Parks & Recreation director for the Town of Wilton, the study will be conducted during a 12-week period and will cost $24,600.

“This study will include conceptual layout plans of the site and facility, drainage concept, capital cost estimate and operational and life cycle costs,” Stantec officials wrote in the letter to Pierce. “We are happy to revise as needed to meet the needs of the Town of Wilton.”

The study will examine whether a full-sized multipurpose field for soccer and lacrosse can be built as well as a regulation-sized basketball court, restrooms and outdoor parking to support the facility. In the study, they are also considering if there may be space for an additional full-sized basketball court and a baseball and softball training area that would measure 100 feet by 60 feet.

“Does that mean that it could be batting cages?” Selectwoman Deborah McFadden asked when discussed at the most recent Board of Selectmen meeting.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said it could be batting cages, or a turfed area presumably used for throwing and fielding.

Vanderslice said the $24,600 contract was “being reviewed by the Town Council.”

When beckoning the board for a motion to move forward on this, she wanted to be sure to note this was not a confirmation that the project would be moving forward with building plans.

“This is just to determine the concept plan as a feasibility study and this does not mean that they’re designing it and it doesn’t mean that they’re building it,” Vanderslice said. “It’s just so that we get this information, it comes back and (we can ask) ‘can it be done at a cost that we will consider?’”

She said that decision will come later in the summer.

More than just the cost to build the initial structure, Stantec will conduct life cycle costs of the facility, as well as relevant maintenance upkeeps that will likely be needed.

The Boston-based group will also be working with Andes Consulting, Engineering & Survey PLLC to “generate a drone survey with site verification as base plan including existing site features.”

Sherman, who was one of the initial residents to voice their support for the proposal and is heavily involved in youth sports in Wilton, said in an interview it was an “exciting project” and a “rare opportunity for Wilton and our local communities.”