The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting approved a $17,000 contract with a Darien-based company to install power outlets at the finish lines at the New Canaan High School track.
As it is, a generator is rolled out onto the field to power up timing devices and scoreboards for track and field events at NCHS, according to Joe Zagarenski, senior engineer with the town Department of Public Works.
Under a contract with Darien Electrical Contracting Inc., power will be installed in a shed near the Waveny water tower and will also come down to the finish lines at the track.
The work would “get rid of the need for bringing a generator out to the track,” Zagarenski told the selectmen at their March 9 meeting, held via videoconference.
“So needless to say, the high school Athletic Department is very supportive of this project,” he said.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract.
Williams said he was “a little befuddled as to why this wasn’t done when we redid the track in the first place, years ago.” (Williams served on the Fields Building Committee that oversaw the water tower turf field and track projects.)
Zagarenski said conduits had been put in place as part of the original project, but installation of bleachers and grandstand seating was higher priority.
“We didn’t want to spend the contingency until those projects were finished,” he said. “And now the bleacher project is finished, we can spend the contingency.”
Moynihan asked whether the only work left undone has been lighting for the track itself.
Zagarenski said that type of lighting was contemplated but “never made its way into the budget” for the project.
“It wasn’t supported,” he said.
Williams asked whether there are plans right now to install lights at the track.
Zagarenski said no.
“And the lights at the time were simply for people for walking at night,” he said. “They weren’t for play. So they didn’t get a lot of support.”
Public Works Director Tiger Mann added that the lighting originally contemplated for the track would not enable sports teams to compete inside the track.
For that type of lighting, the town would need to go back to the Planning & Zoning Commission.
“We got P&Z approval for the downlighting and we had analyses done as far as light trespass and the lights that we were proposing would not trespass onto Waveny Care [Center],” he said. “But Waveny Care had some definite concerns as to if we went with higher-level athletic lighting. Specifically, some of their residents, their windows front the track and while they like to see participation, nighttime participation might be a little much at that time.”
Asked how much downlighting for walkers would cost, Zagarenski said about $150,000.