Feature Article - June 2016
Find a printable version here

2016 State of the Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from schools and from health clubs were the least likely to report that they had plans for construction. Some 52 percent of school respondents and 56.3 percent of health club respondents have plans for construction.

Camp respondents were the most likely to have plans to build new facilities. Some 39.9 percent of camp respondents said they had plans for new construction. They were followed by parks, one-third (33.3 percent) of whom said they would be building new, and colleges and universities, where 24.1 percent of respondents have such plans.

Additions are also most commonly planned by camp respondents, with well over one-third (35.5 percent) indicating they would be making additions to their existing facilities. They were followed by community recreation centers (33.1 percent) and parks respondents (30.1 percent).

Finally, renovations were also most commonly planned by camp respondents. In fact, a majority (63.8 percent) of camp respondents said they had plans for renovations to their existing facilities. They were followed by parks, where more than one-half (55.7 percent) had renovation plans, and YMCAs, where 45.7 percent had such plans.


On average, respondents are planning to spend $3,519,000 on their construction plans, down 12.5 percent from 2015's average construction cost of $4,024,000. (See Figure 26.) Since 2011, the average budget for construction plans has wavered, but overall it has decreased by 10.7 percent, from $3,942,000 in 2011.

The only facility type that saw an increase in its average construction budget was health clubs. Among health club respondents, the average budget for construction grew 55.8 percent from $1,605,000 in 2015 to $2,500,000 in 2016. Respondents from camps reported the greatest decrease in average construction budgets, reporting a drop of 44.6 percent from $1,904,000 on average in 2015 to $1,055,000 in 2016. They were followed by YMCAs, which saw a drop of 22.8 percent and colleges and universities, with a decrease of 22.4 percent.

The highest spending on facilities is still found among colleges and universities, as well as schools and school districts. College respondents plan to spend 71.6 percent more on construction than the average for all facilities, while schools will spend 39.8 percent more. Parks respondents follow, spending 9.2 percent more than the average for all facilities.

The lowest spending is found among camps respondents, who plan to spend 70 percent less than the average for all facilities, followed by community recreation centers, spending 38.6 percent less, and health clubs at 29 percent.

Respondents from private nonprofit organizations saw the greatest decrease in their construction spending plans from 2015 to 2016, reporting a drop of 14 percent, from an average of $3,753,000 in 2015 to $3,227,000 in 2016. They were followed by private for-profit organizations, at 13.5 percent and public organizations, at 13.1 percent.

Public organizations planned to spend the most on their construction in 2016, as in past years, spending 10.2 percent more than the average for all organization types, at $3,877,000. Private nonprofits were planning to spend 8.3 percent less than the average for all organization types, while private for-profits were planning to spend 47.1 percent less.