Feature Article - June 2013
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2013 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Facilities & Construction Plans

For this year's survey, we asked respondents about the age of their main facility for the first time. For all facility types, the average is 27.5 years. Less than one in 10 (8.8 percent) respondents said their main facilities were five or fewer years old. Some 12.5 percent said their main facility was between six and 10 years old. One-fifth (20 percent) of respondents' main facilities are between 11 and 20 years old. Around 18.5 percent said their main facility is between 21 and 30 years old. And 40.2 percent said their main facility is 31 years or older.

On average, respondents from camps have the oldest facilities. This group reported their facilities are 41.8 years old, on average. More than two-thirds of camp respondents (66.7 percent) said their main facility was 36 years old or older. (See Figure 16.)

Respondents from health clubs reported having the newest facilities, though this group reported that their main facilities were 20 years old, on average.

Respondents from colleges and health clubs were the most likely to report that their main facility was five years old or newer. Some 14.7 percent of college respondents and 12.5 percent of health club respondents indicated that their main facility was this age.

There was very little change from 2012 in the percentage of respondents who indicate that they have construction plans over the next three years for their facilities. In 2012, 60.4 percent of respondents had plans for construction, and in 2013, that number rose slightly to 62.7 percent. The largest number of those with construction plans (45.5 percent) are aiming to renovate their facilities. Another 26.6 percent plan to add to their existing facilities, and 23.9 percent plan to build new facilities. (See Figure 17.)

Those with plans for construction expect to spend $4,139,000 on average, a decrease of 2 percent from 2012, when the average amount planned was $4,225,000.

Respondents from private for-profit facilities were the most likely organization type to report that they had plans for construction. Nearly seven in 10 (69.8 percent) of these respondents indicated they had plans for construction. Almost half (49.3 percent) were planning renovations. Another 29.3 percent were planning additions, and 10.9 percent were planning to build new.

While public organizations were the least likely to be planning construction (61.4 percent have such plans), they are the most likely to be planning to build new. Nearly one-quarter (24.4 percent) of public organization respondents said they had plans to build new facilities over the next three years. Another 26.2 percent will be making additions, and 44.6 percent are planning renovations.

Private nonprofit organizations fell in the middle, with 62.6 percent indicating they had plans for construction. The most common plan for these respondents is renovations, with 46.5 percent of private nonprofit respondents indicating they have plans to renovate. Another 26 percent are planning additions, and 22.9 percent will be building new facilities.

Public organizations have the largest amount budgeted for their construction plans—10.3 percent higher than the across-the-board average, at $4,564,000. They were followed by private for-profit organizations, which plan to spend $3,317,000, and private nonprofits, which plan to spend $2,986,000. (See Figure 18.)

When considered according to facility type, respondents from camps are the most likely to be planning construction of any kind. Some 85.3 percent of camps will be doing construction over the next three years, possibly due to the fact that camps also reported the oldest average facility age. Their construction plans are dominated by renovations, planned by 67.4 percent of camp respondents. Another 45 percent are planning to build new, and 43.4 percent are planning additions. That said, camp respondents are planning to spend a great deal less than the across-the-board average for their facility construction. Camp respondents projected they will spend $1,162,000, 71.9 percent less than the average for all respondents. (See Figure 19.)

After camps, respondents from parks were the most likely to be planning new facilities or renovations. Some 65.5 percent of parks respondents have construction plans, with 28.3 percent planning new construction, and 50.5 percent planning renovations. The average amount planned for construction among parks respondents is $4,139,000.

Respondents from colleges and universities have the highest amount budgeted for their construction plans—at $7,990,000. Some 59.2 percent of college respondents have plans for construction over the next three years, with 19.7 percent planning new facilities, 23.2 percent planning additions and 39.5 percent planning renovations.

After camps, health clubs plan to spend the smallest amount on their construction plans, at $2,154,000. Some 64.1 percent of health club respondents reported they had plans for construction, with 15.6 percent planning to build new, 17.2 percent planning additions and 48.4 percent planning renovations.

Schools were the least likely to be planning construction, though 53.7 percent indicated they have such plans. Nearly a quarter (23.1 percent) of schools respondents said they would be building new facilities. Another 19.8 percent will be making additions, and 35.1 percent will be making renovations to their existing facilities.