San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the completion of the newly transformed Garfield Square Park in the Mission District. The facility has a renovated indoor pool, clubhouse, courtyard, and public art installation. A new Community Hub opened in the clubhouse today, to provide San Francisco students with in-person support for distance learning, healthy meals and snacks, and recreation opportunities. The pool will open to the public when health orders allow indoor swimming.
“The past year has shown us just how important public spaces are for our residents,” said Mayor Breed. “Throughout COVID-19, we’ve continued to invest in infrastructure, community spaces, and our parks, because we know these projects are going to be critical to our recovery as a city. San Franciscans now have a wonderful new recreation and community center, a state of the art pool, and a space that can serve our children throughout the year. I can’t wait to see our children, their families, and all of our residents fully using this new space as we emerge from this pandemic.”
The new Garfield Center comprises a 3,550 square foot clubhouse and pool building, which share a single lobby area. The Center features updated showers and locker rooms, a playroom and expanded kitchen. Outside are new basketball courts and a splashpad for children. A courtyard connects the new park elements.
The Garfield Pool Renovation Project also includes accessibility upgrades and landscaping. The pool, once public health guidelines allow, will serve more swimmers and accommodate different uses concurrently. Children under 4 feet tall can enjoy the new shallow end while a moveable divider allows portions of the pool to be used for lessons or lap swim.
The $19.7 million capital project was funded through the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond and Interagency Plan Implementation Committee (IPIC) Eastern Neighborhood Impact Fees. Capital projects like this one are an important part of San Francisco’s economic recovery, with this project providing more than 250 construction jobs.
“Parks are more important than ever, and I am excited to begin a new era of recreation at Garfield Square,” said District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “The design for this renovation was driven by the community, and we are seeing the benefit of that in this beautiful new pool building. The upgraded facility truly reflects the spirit of the Mission District.”
“Garfield Square is beloved by the neighborhood, a site for family picnics, soccer games, and trips to the playground. This major overhaul updates the park with a modern swim facility, community space, and courtyard for play and relaxation. It is a project that both reflects and was shaped by the community,” San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said.
Two percent of the project budget went to commission artwork for the building. A glass mural that spans the length of the pool is the first major public art project by artist Favianna Rodriguez. Standing at 8 feet high and 113 feet long, the artwork features a mother with her baby, two children, and a paletero (ice cream vendor). Its bright colors and playful shapes reflect in the water.
“My goal was to invoke colorful landscapes that celebrate the regions from which many of the Latinx immigrants in the Mission come from,” said Rodriguez. “As the daughter of an immigrant family, the history and culture of the Mission is one that deeply resonates with me. And this served as a great opportunity to learn how to take my ideas from two-dimensional space to a large-scale glasswork. I am delighted by the thought of kids and adults enjoying the pool and being transported to another world through the imagery.”
“We are so excited to share Favianna Rodriguez’s gorgeous stained glass artwork at Garfield Pool with the Mission District community,” said Ralph Remington, Director of Cultural Affairs, San Francisco Arts Commission. “Her piece, Santuario, celebrates the historical presence of Latinx families in the Mission through an integration of colors derived from Mexican and Salvadorian textile works and iconography, and rural landscapes that reference these and other countries in Central America. The work is a signal to the local community that this is their space.”
In addition, the pool building’s Primal Sea diptych mural, installed in 1980, was given new life through a restoration led by artist Yano Rivera of Precita Eyes Muralists.
The Garfield Center project team included San Francisco Public Works Landscape Architecture and TEF Design/Paulett Taggart Architects Joint Venture. Public Works provided construction management and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, which owns the facility, served as project manager. City departments involved in the project also included the Art Commission, Capital Planning, the Department of Public Health, Planning, and Environment.
“We are honored to have had the opportunity to take part in the rebirth of Garfield Center,” said acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried. “As visitors return, they will experience a transformed community hub with a renovated indoor pool, new clubhouse and a welcoming courtyard that knits the two together, creating a welcoming experience for the neighborhood to enjoy.”
The project broke ground in October of 2018. Its athletic fields, lawn and children’s play area remained open during construction.