SAN YSIDRO — Students, parents, District and School officials and community members on Feb. 11 unveiled Sunset Elementary School’s new artificial turf playground: a 62,000-square-foot field donated by San Diego company Manzana Energy.

The field – valued at $1 million – was donated to the school by Manzana to show support for the District’s successful financial turnaround in the past year.

“This field is an incredible addition to our school,” Sunset Elementary Principal Efrain Burciaga said. “Students are enjoying their recesses and additional programs like the STEM and Soccer program on this soft new surface.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony included a performance by student Yenia Valle, who sang Bruno Mars’ “Count On Me,” and student speaker Abigail Salas, who spoke on behalf of her classmates.

“We look forward to a nice place to enjoy recess and many different sports without safety concerns,” Salas said. “We feel very lucky to have people in the community who know the importance of what our school means to us and are very thankful to all that made this possible for us.”

The field is used daily by students at Sunset Elementary, a K-8 school with an enrollment of 840 students. Manzana’s offer to replace the field was approved by the San Ysidro School District Board of Education in December and included removal of an aging rubber playground surface.

“The previous playground surface was badly deteriorated,” Manzana Energy President Art Castañares said. “We realized we could help the students of Sunset and give them a new field that will last for many years to come. It is so rewarding to see the kids out here, playing soccer, rolling around on the grass and having a great time.”

Manzana enlisted the support of fellow San Diego company Omega Turf to install the playground. Omega performed installation between January and February, battling wet conditions associated with El Niño to complete the project.

“This project represents the type of community partnerships that the District is working to establish and maintain right here in San Ysidro,” Board of Education President Marcos Diaz said. “It is important to collaborate to make our District as strong as possible, so that our students can learn and play in upgraded facilities.”

The cutting-edge synthetic turf is expected to last for 20 years. The durable grass surface’s interior is filled with Envirofill, a widely used, long-lasting synthetic turf infill that is made of sand pellets infused with Microban for antimicrobial properties.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a group of students enjoyed an impromptu game of soccer with San Ysidro Superintendent Dr. Julio Fonseca.

“It is a priority of this District to ensure our children have access to safe, high-quality learning environments,” Fonseca said. “Their learning environment doesn’t just include their classrooms. It includes our school facilities, too. We want our students to be inspired to learn inside and outside of the classroom and to enjoy coming to school every day, ready to learn.”

SUNSETFIELD1: San Ysidro School District’s Sunset Elementary hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 11 to celebrate the official opening of the school’s $1 million new field: a 62,000-square-foot synthetic turf playground donated by San Diego company Manzana Energy.

SUNSETFIELD2: Students from Sunset Elementary School enjoy an impromptu game of soccer on their new field. The field is a 62,000-square-foot synthetic turf playground made of recycled materials and is expected to last 20 years.