NEW CANAAN — Lauren Carlson is a senior at New Canaan High School and the captain of the indoor and outdoor track and cross country teams. She, like many other NCHS students and residents, is well aware of the shortcomings of the high school’s current track, especially a dip at the beginning of the last 100 meter straightaway that is a tripping hazard.

“The track is in poor shape. It has not been renovated since 1974, which is especially shocking when you look at how often other sports fields have been done. There have been only patchwork fixes over time, and this affects our performance considerably,” Carlson said, imploring the Town Council to vote to approve the bonding of millions of dollars of improvements to athletic facilities around town, including a full renovation of the track.

The council listened on April 20, approving, in addition to improvements to the track, turfing of the two high school Water Tower fields and a makeover of the Mead Park baseball fields.

The projects constitute a public-private partnership between the town, the New Canaan Athletic Foundation (NCAF) and New Canaan Baseball. Roughly $2.3 million was raised by the latter two organizations, without which the projects could not have been completed.

“It really is amazing when you look at all these projects and the amount of private donations that have gone into this,” Town Councilman Steve Karl said.

The renovation of the track and turfing of the Water Tower fields are part of “Phase Two” of the NCAF, following on the heels of last summer’s “Phase One,” which saw the then-recently formed organization, headed by resident Mike Benevento, raise funds to returf Dunning Field. The projects will be completed this summer.

“Their track record is exemplary,” Karl said, drawing laughs with the pun. ”Thank you guys for all the work. A long time coming.”

In a show of support for the effort, the town is contributing $1,750,000 to the track replacement, $850,000 for Water Tower turf one, $500,000 for Water Tower turf two and $500,000 for the Mead Park baseball fields, all in bonds.

“The amount of money that this town has put forward privately is really an exclamation point on our support and belief that athletics in this town for our youth is paramount to the success of our community,” Karl said.

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1