New Wilton High School track completion date pushed back by weather

Wilton's new proposed track.

Wilton’s new proposed track.

Town of Wilton / Contributed photo

WILTON — The timeline for the completion of the $973,300 Wilton High School track replacement project at Tom Fujitani Field has been slowed recently by poor weather, according to Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce.

At a regular Parks and Recreation meeting on July 14, Pierce said the contracted workers putting down the new track have had to work around consistent forecasts of rain for the past number of weeks. While the original date of completion was set for July 16, Pierce thinks it will take at least 10 to 12 more days of work, again dependent on weather.

“We have a slow rate due to this inclement weather,” he said. “The subsurface of the track, the black rubber that is the base of the track, is completely down. They've been trying, primarily because of the weather, (but) the surface that they are putting down takes eight hours to dry.”

Pierce said he keeps a chart on his desk of forecasted time periods of both rain and clear weather. He said he travels to the high school each day to see the progress.

Since starting the project on June 21, though, there have been more than a few days lost to rain. Pierce explained that if the material the workers are placing down doesn’t have the minimum eight hours to dry, it could be wasted and work delayed once more.

“They basically have to rip up all the work they did and start all over again from the previous day,” Pierce explained.

Parks and Recreation Commission Member John Macken asked if there was an exclusionary clause in the performance contract for the track project that specifically cited weather delays, to which Pierce said yes.

“They cannot be held responsible if they can’t work,” Pierce said.

Macken said that while he typically likes to hold contractors to performance guarantees, he understands the situation and “wants it done right.”

In terms of a new timetable, Pierce cited “10 to 12 work days,” but added that work will also be done on the weekends.

The next steps, the director explained, are to place the runways to various track and field features, such as the long jump pit. Then, the school’s colors will be painted, starting with Wilton’s “Carolina Blue” color down first, followed by the darker hues of blue after.

Pierce and the rest of the commission are urging residents to continue to remain off of the field for the remainder of the project. Monitors will be recording the area from 5 p.m to 9 a.m. daily, and workers will prohibit entrance to the stadium during work hours.

The finished project will be done “well before” fall sports preseason training, the commission said.

Meanwhile, the feasibility study for a domed indoor field house will begin next week, according to Pierce. The study will look into all of the project components, including need for electrical, natural gas and parking studies.

Earlier this year, Wilton residents J.R. Sherman and Scott Lawrence pitched to the Board of Selectmen the idea that this project could be beneficial to the town’s economy, by attracting teams from other areas to rent practice time and play in tournaments at the proposed sports complex.

At prior town meetings, discussions of a full-size turf soccer field and at least one full-size basketball court have been the continuous focus for the indoor field house.

Macken questioned the length of the 10-week study, deeming it “unreasonably long.”

Pierce hinted that the proposed duration could be a “safe” number, with a chance the process may be quicker.