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Guest Column - May 2017

Athletic Buildings

Making Space for Sports

By Amanda Williams


Sports teaches confidence, empowerment and team building, and for children and teenagers, sports can produce a clean and productive path toward recreation and healthy living. Practicing sports can provide young people with good role models and friends with similar interests, but these benefits shouldn't stop just because of rain or snow.

Whether it's a municipality or private athletic business, every practice facility needs an indoor space that can accommodate athletic training, recreation or events during inclement weather. Indoor athletic arenas establish a dry play surface that minimizes injuries and can provide the benefits of athletics on a year-round basis.

Fabric structures are the ideal athletic buildings for businesses or municipalities, and they create a versatile space that is energy-efficient and low-maintenance.

Space and Versatility

When designing a recreational building or sports complex, a number of considerations must be taken into account. Sports facilities must serve multiple functions, and any sports or recreational facility must accommodate the needs of athletes, their trainers and space for spectators or storage.

The great thing about a fabric structure is that it is essentially a blank canvas. Many companies that construct fabric buildings will be able to completely customize a structure to the needs of any business owner or municipality. This means that turf, netting, individual rooms, pools, tracks and more can all be incorporated into a fabric building.

Fabric buildings can also be built to just about any size, so they can easily accommodate games or competitions. This means that the ceiling never has to be a factor while playing and the field of play doesn't have to be shrunk down to meet special issues.

Geoff Ching, who manages a team of Truss Arch specialists for ClearSpan Fabric Structures, said, "We can customize width and sidewall height to fit the needs of all athletic activities, while designing in full compliance with local permitting requirements when necessary."

Many fabric structures feature a clear span design. This means that there aren't any support posts to hinder play. This is a major reason why athletes and trainers choose to go with a fabric structure. The open floor plan makes designing the ideal facility an easy process, because the space doesn't have to be segmented to work around posts and support beams.

Energy Efficiency

For any athletic facility, natural ventilation and fresh, breathable air are necessary. Facilities with a stale and smelly atmosphere are all too common, but using a fabric structure instead of a traditional building can provide natural ventilation that promotes a fresh, enjoyable environment. This can be done without the need of expensive ventilation equipment, allowing for savings on a monthly basis.

A fabric building can also help to reduce monthly electric bills. Ching stated, "The number one benefit is the natural sunlight that enters the indoor athletic arena."

It's true. The natural lighting that filters through a fabric cover generates a soft illumination that eliminates the need for artificial daytime lighting. The natural lighting provides an ideal atmosphere for sports and athletics. It is soft on the eyes and reduces the distracting glare and bright spots that are found outdoors. Fabric covers can also sustain comfortable temperatures throughout the year. Some companies even boast that fabric covers can reduce temperatures by 20 degrees in the summer, while also increasing the temperature during the winter.

Low Construction and Maintenance Costs

Without a doubt, a fabric structure is an economical option that is easy to manage and preserve. In many regions they are classified as a temporary structure, but they are still durable enough to be used on a permanent basis. This provides a remarkable reduction in property taxes.

Some companies can even present significant savings on the foundation costs with innovative systems that create a strong and sturdy foundation.

"The designs feature efficient use of materials that reduce initial investments. Foundation solutions can even decrease and at times eliminate the need for poured concrete, an expense that often approaches the cost of the structure," Ching said.

By reducing the need for excavation and traditional foundations, fabric structures not only lower costs, but can also speed up the construction timeline. This allows municipalities or businesses to get a building quickly and not waste any valuable time.

Athletics provide a wide range of benefits that teach personal responsibility and development. There's no need for these advantages to stop due to inclement weather. Building a fabric structure is a great way for businesses and municipalities to maintain a year-round sports program. The space and versatility provided by fabric buildings, mixed with energy-efficiency, low construction costs and very little required maintenance, makes them a great option for any athletic facility.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Williams is a content writer for ClearSpan, which specializes in fabric structures for all athletic and recreational needs. For more information, visit www.clearspan.com.