Ida’s heavy rain damages Wilton High’s new $1M track, officials say

Wilton High School’s new running lanes, dressed in Carolina blue to complement Wilton’s darker blue of its new track surface. Photo was taken Monday, August 9, 2021, in Wilton, Connecticut

Wilton High School’s new running lanes, dressed in Carolina blue to complement Wilton’s darker blue of its new track surface. Photo was taken Monday, August 9, 2021, in Wilton, Connecticut

Bryan Haeffele

WILTON — The new high school track, replaced recently as a part of a nearly $1 million project, has been temporarily closed along with the stadium and turf fields after heavy rains Wednesday flooded the area, officials said.

Crews will be at the stadium early next week and the necessary replacement infill has been ordered, officials said Friday.

Officials said rain traveled down from Catalpa Road, eventually crossing into town property near the high school stadium. A town drain network was clogged by mud, branches and debris, they said.

With the drains blocked, mud, debris and water rushed across the track and turf fields, removing sand and coconut husk infill with it, officials said in a town bulletin.

The $973,300 Wilton High School track replacement project, which started on June 21, was opened to the public on Aug. 6. Part of the project's goal was to even out the running lanes and surface as best as the conditions would allow.

Officials said: “As a preventative measure, this spring, we enlarged the drain behind the field to 6 feet deep and we cleared the drains. Even as enlarged, the tree debris was so significant as to fill the drain.”

The town’s engineer is going to investigate what can be done given the growing chance of heavy rain storms, officials said. .

Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Anna Marie Bilella and Director Steve Pierce inspected the recently completed track on Aug. 6. They were joined by representatives from the contracting company that installed the surface. Biella and Pierce did point out a few minor details along the drainage grating they would like amended. But were overall pleased with the final product.

“It's beautiful. It's truly the next level,” Bilella said. “I'm guessing that folks will want to come and see it from other towns as they reevaluate redoing their tracks.”