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Web Exclusive - June 2015

Community Centers

A Look at Trends in Community Centers


Some 7.3 percent of respondents to the Industry Report survey were from community or private recreation and sports centers. More than half (53.2 percent) of these community centers are public organizations. Another 28.1 percent are private nonprofits, and 18.1 percent are private for-profit organizations.

Community center respondents were most likely to be from the Midwest. Some 32.9 percent of these respondents said they were from that region. They were followed by the West (23.5 percent) and the South Atlantic (18.2 percent). Fewer community center respondents were from the South Central region (12.4 percent) and the Northeast (10.6 percent).

Community center respondents were most likely to report from suburban communities. Some 45.3 percent of community center respondents said they were located in suburban areas. They were followed by rural communities (28.8 percent) and urban areas (25.9 percent).

The majority (82.9 percent) of community center respondents said that they had formed partnerships with other organizations. The most common partners were local schools (58.8 percent of community center respondents had partnered with them), local government (57 percent), nonprofit organizations (46.5 percent), corporate or local businesses (33.5 percent) and colleges and universities (27.1 percent).

Nearly half (49.1 percent) of community center respondents said that the primary audience served by their facilities was all ages. Another 22.2 percent said adults ages 19 to 64 were their primary audience. Children ages 4 to 12 were the primary audience for 15.8 percent of these respondents. Less than one in 10 named teens (7 percent), seniors 65 and older (3.5 percent) or college students (2.3 percent) as their primary audience.

Some 63.3 percent of community center respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2013 to 2014. Another 9.5 percent reported that usage of their facilities had decreased in that time frame. Looking ahead, 68.9 percent expect to see the number of people using their facilities increase in 2015, and 72.6 percent expect an increase in 2016.

Revenues & Expenditures

More than half (50.3 percent) of community center respondents said their revenues had increased from 2013 to 2014. Another 8.4 percent reported that revenues had fallen in that time period. Looking ahead, 62 percent expect to see an increase in revenues from 2014 to 2015; and 59.4 percent expect increases from 2015 to 2016.

There was a 14.5 percent drop in the average annual operating expenditure for community center respondents from fiscal 2013 to 2014. The average annual expenditure fell from $1,215,000 in 2013 to $1,039,000 in 2014. Looking ahead, though, community center respondents project a 9.7 percent increase to their average operating budgets from 2014 to 2016, to an average of $1,140,000.

More than three-quarters (78.6 percent) of community center respondents said they had taken action to reduce their expenditures over the past year. The most common actions taken by these respondents include: improving energy efficiency (54.2 percent of community center of respondents had done so); increasing fees (38.7 percent); reducing staff (25 percent); putting construction or renovation plans on hold (17.3 percent); and cutting programs and services (16.7 percent).

Community Center Facilities

Community center respondents were less likely than others to report that they had plans for construction over the next three years. Some 55.6 percent of community center respondents are planning construction, compared with 66.7 percent of non-community-center respondents. Some 35.1 percent of community center respondents are planning renovations, while 24.6 percent are planning to make additions at their existing facilities, and 14.6 percent are planning new facilities. They are planning to spend an average of $2,516,000 on their construction.

Nearly a third (32.7 percent) of community center respondents said they have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. The 10 most commonly planned features are: splash play areas, walking and hiking trails, playgrounds, park shelters, bleachers and seating, bike trails, fitness centers, concession areas, disc golf courses, and natural turf sports fields.

Programming

The 10 most common programming types currently found among community center respondents include: holidays and other special events; fitness programs; youth sports teams; day camps and summer camps; programs for active older adults; mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi; adult sports teams; educational programs; swimming; and arts and crafts.

Some 39.2 percent of community center respondents said they had plans to add programs at their facilities over the next three years. The 10 most commonly planned program additions include:

  1. Teen programming
  2. Fitness programs
  3. Educational programs
  4. Nutrition and diet counseling
  5. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi
  6. Day camps and summer camps
  7. Festivals and concerts
  8. Active older adult programming
  9. Sport training such as golf instruction or tennis lessons
  10. Sports tournaments and races
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