Audacious Foundation, Lompoc Unified School District Level Playing Field at Hapgood Elementary

Public-private partnership helps entire community


A new track and field have been opened at Hapgood Elementary, the Lompoc Unified School District and Audacious Foundation have announced. The new track and field are available for use by the community during non-school hours.

During a recent visit to Hapgood, foundation leaders learned that students were unable to play on school fields due to a gopher infestation. Gopher holes causing uneven ground posed a risk of injury to students playing on the fields. The foundation offered to cover half the cost of a new track and gopher-proof playing field.

“It’s a real shame to have a big grass field at a school and then tell kids and neighbors they can’t play on it,” said Paul Orfalea, founder of the Audacious Foundation. “Exercise, play and movement are fundamental to a healthy childhood, and a child’s health is fundamental to learning and reaching their full potential.”

Hapgood Elementary Principal Carmen Chavez, and Douglas Sorum, district maintenance and operations director, both Lompoc natives, put the doundation’s offer of support to good use: soliciting bids, selecting a contractor, and completing the project in less than six months.

“Our students and the whole community deserve a safe place for healthy recreational activities,” said Sorum. “We could not be more thankful for the support of the Audacious Foundation.”

As kindergarten students enjoyed their recess, kicking balls and darting across the newly installed track and field, Chavez marveled at the change on her campus.

“Having a safe track and field is so important for our student scholars, and it is a great asset for the broader community, as well,” she said while watching students race from one end of the field to the other.

The Audacious Foundation covered 50 percent of the cost of the project with a grant of just under $80,000 to the school district. The foundation invests in non-academic programs focused on whole child education to help every child reach their full potential.

The foundation supports biking, swimming, outdoor education, ropes courses, school gardens, arts education and dance, science camps, and orthodontia, at 12 schools throughout Santa Barbara County, including three in Lompoc. The foundation expanded to include Hapgood Elementary in the current school year.

The opening of the new track and field at Hapgood Elementary comes on the heels of a successful community effort to renovate Huyck Stadium at Lompoc High School. A groundbreaking ceremony was held to celebrate that major effort moving forward in December.

For more information about the track and field at Hapgood Elementary, contact Bree Valla, assistant superintendent, human resources at LUSD at To learn more about the Audacious Foundation, visit

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