‘Truly the next level’: New Wilton High track opens to public

WILTON — Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Anna Marie Bilella and Director Steve Pierce, flanked by boys track coach Jim Gerweck, rounded the new track at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday morning.

As they turned down the final stretch of the newly laid track, the first official group to complete a lap, they stopped, took a pause and smiled.

The $973,300 Wilton High School track replacement project was completed with that look of acceptance by the group. The track opened to the public Friday afternoon.

Started on June 21 and originally slated for completion in mid-July, the track replacement project had been delayed a number of days due to inclement weather.

As Bilella and Pierce inspected the new digs, they were joined by representatives from the contracting company that installed the surface. They did point out a few minor details along the drainage grating that they would like amended. But on this hot Friday morning, the recreation officials 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.”

Pierce, who has overseen the project and made regular visits during construction, agreed.

“I’m very pleased with the way it turned out,” Pierce said. “We’ll be very happy that the community gets a lot of years of use out of this.”

Bilella and Pierce reiterated the investment won’t just be of use to the students of Wilton High School, but a staple for the community for years to come.

“I think it (is) more than just for the students, but it does a lot for the whole community,” Bilella said. “(It is) for the youth straight through to the senior citizens because the track for us is such a critical recreational asset in town.”

She added that everyone in town gathers at the track, and it is used for various reasons.

“It's also in the center of town,” she said, “so it's a highlight that people can walk to it and it's a new destination for residents.”

Part of the project’s goal was to even out the running lanes and surface as best as the conditions would allow. Despite some slight grading, there has been no issues of puddling, even after excessive rainfall during construction, officials said.

The new surface’s lifespan will last well over a decade, and the district will have the opportunity to repaint the various lines as it deems fit, officials said.

“Well, I think that the track that was here was obviously beyond its useful life (span). It served the town well,” Pierce said. “But what we have now is pretty much state-of-the-art for a high school facility and for a community facility.”