Excited and wide-eyed students at Daniel Webster Elementary School started doing cartwheels and somersaults at the Thursday morning unveiling of the school's new athletic turf, one of three public-elementary schools in The City to receive such a field.
"We knew that they would like it, but we were surprised by how much they liked it," said Colin Schmidt, executive director of America SCORES Bay Area, which through community support raised the $25,000 needed to replace the asphalt yard of the school's lower terrace in an effort to make the field safer.
Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, Supervisor Malia Cohen and Recreation and Park Department Director Phil Ginsburg were on hand Thursday to celebrate the new artificial turf, which consists of a foam base and nylon blades, according to Schmidt.
Cleveland Elementary and Redding Elementary have also received new athletic fields, courtesy of America SCORES. The nonprofit eventually hopes to replace all asphalt and concrete playgrounds with the artificial turf fields at every low-income elementary school in The City, Schmidt said.
America SCORES, implemented in 12 other cities nationwide, combines sports and academics, specifically soccer and poetry, to give students primarily at low-income elementary schools a safe space to play and learn, according to Schmidt.
San Francisco's school district is also taking steps to remove asphalt from schoolyards through its Green Schoolyard Program. So far, more than 70 elementary, middle and high schools have replaced some asphalt with trees, a garden, or other "green" elements, district spokeswoman Heidi Anderson said.
"There is no maintenance," said Robert Hang, a coach at Webster Elementary, about the school's new field. "I think we should do this at all schools. Kids used to not fall for fear of hurting themselves. Now, with this stuff, they fall on purpose. It's cool."