‘We Are Very Close To Reaping the Rewards’: New Turf Fields, Track at New Canaan High School Near Completion

The sub-surface work for the new turf fields at New Canaan High School was completed last month and lighting towers and fencing there have been installed, according to the volunteer committee that’s overseeing the widely anticipated projects. Turf and fill for both fields—a full-size field and a smaller one—will be installed once daytime temperatures consistently reach 45 degrees and that installation will take about three weeks to finish, according to a information supplied by the Town Fields Building Committee. According to NCHS Athletic Director Jay Egan, an ex officio member of the committee, next week’s warm temperatures are expected to deliver a window for the installation. “Thanks to the town’s contribution and the private donations, as we kick off the spring season, we are going to have some tremendous fields and a track complex for our athletes to use, and for the youth-level lacrosse and soccer players, and so I think it’s really exciting,” Egan said. “We are on the verge of having a complex that will be second to none as far as this area is concerned.”

Op-Ed: In Fields Project’s Wake, Town Treasurer Candidate Says New Canaan Can Do Better

There is an old saying about construction projects: “good, quick, cheap – pick the two you want because you can’t have all three.” I don’t know enough about the $800,000 additional funding requirement to complete the turf fields / track project to suggest which of these criteria mattered most at the time the project was planned, nor will I repeat all that has already been written about this matter, which divided the Town Council. What I will say, as a CPA and candidate for Town Treasurer, is that town hall needs to learn from the mistakes that were made and install stronger financial controls over major capital projects, from the budgeting stage, through bidding and contracting, and during construction. In public / private partnerships such as this one, it is the town that has to make up the shortfall if additional private funds are not forthcoming. I am a director of a small gold mining company that has recently completed the development of a complex underground mine on time and on budget, for a cost of roughly ten times that of the fields project. We have undertaken other capital projects over recent years, smaller in scope, that have run over budget.

‘The Cacophony of Finger-Pointing’: Selectmen Voice Concerns over Third-Party Review of NCHS Fields Project

Saying that a very able town-appointed committee appears to be directing funds for outside contractors instead of handling the work itself, members of the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voiced concerns regarding how reviews of the track and fields projects at the high school will affect public-private partnerships and volunteerism in New Canaan. When the town first formed the Audit Committee, Selectman Beth Jones said, she was “under the crazy impression that they were actually going to do some of this auditing and stuff.”

“I did not know they would just tell us what needed to be done and pay outside people,” Jones said during the selectmen’s meeting, held at Town Hall. “I would hope they are all such financial experts and so great at this that I would love their insight on what needs to be done, rather than just handing it off and paying $16,000 to somebody else.”

She referred to funds to be paid to independent auditors who, at the request of the Audit Committee, will take on reviews of how the building projects at New Canaan High School have unfolded. The projects, partially completed, include re-turfing a playing field, creating a new turf field-and-a-half and replacing the track. Originally estimated to cost $4.9 million, with the town committing $3.9 million in bonding, the project itself was changed in June by a Fields Building Committee as higher-than-expected costs emerged.

Town Officials to Committee Steering NCHS Fields Project: ‘It’s Like We Ordered a Rolls Royce and We Ended Up with a Toyota’

A building contractor of 30 years experience who sits on the town’s legislative body said last week that he sees two major signs that spelled failure on recently disclosed cost overruns for a widely anticipated sports fields building project at New Canaan High School. According to Town Council member Joe Paladino, it’s never advantageous to be under a “tight time crunch” with respect to deadlines in a large project. “It’s not a great idea to have gun against your head and you folks truly did because you are under a time crunch, and there’s no way out of it,” Paladino told the chairman and secretary of the town-appointed committee that’s overseeing the turf fields and track project at the high school, now estimated to cost $5.8 million. “When your architect says he is ‘shocked’ by the number and your committee is ‘shocked’ by the number you are getting from your contractor, how do you know you got the right number?” Paladino told Bob Spangler and Mike Benevento of the Fields Building Committee during a meeting of the council’s Land Use and Recreation Subcommittee, held Sept. 20 at Town Hall.

Did You Hear … ?

A chipmunk has been darting into New Canaan Olive Oil this week when the door near Elm Street’s 50-yard-line is propped open. The staff at the shop has successfully ushered the small animal back out again. ***

New Canaan Police will enforce seatbelt use among local motorists with the department’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, to run May 22 to June 4 at random checkpoints in town. ***

The New Canaan Land Trust has room for two more paid interns to work for the organization this summer. The Land Trust is looking for rising sophomores and juniors and pays $100 per week (for four days a week) for a 5-week summer resetting stonewalls, removing invasive plants, blazing trails, building wildlife habitat, doing research and learning about the land.