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Feature Article - June 2017

Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Different types of aquatic amenities might be more expected at specific types of facilities than others. For example, indoor pools might be more expected at a Y or a college than at a park district or a camp, while hot tubs might more commonly be expected at health clubs.

Among aquatic respondents, those from camps were the most likely to include at least one outdoor pool among their amenities. Some 93 percent of camp respondents with aquatics said they have outdoor pools. They were followed by park respondents (74.5 percent), and community centers (56.9 percent).

For indoor swimming pools, aquatic respondents from college and universities predominate, with 92.4 percent indicating they include indoor pools at their facilities. They were followed by health clubs (91.5 percent) and Ys (86 percent).

Aquatic respondents from parks were more likely than other facility types to include splash play areas. Some 57 percent of park respondents with aquatics said they had at least one splash play area. They were followed by community centers (40 percent) and Ys (22 percent).

Waterparks also were most commonly found among park respondents. Some 24.1 percent of park respondents with aquatics said they include a waterpark. They were followed by community recreation centers, where 10.8 percent include waterparks, and camps (10.5 percent).

Hot tubs, spas and whirlpools were most commonly found in the facilities of aquatic respondents from health clubs. More than three-quarters (78.7 percent) of aquatic respondents from health clubs said their facilities included hot tubs. They were followed by Ys (45 percent), and community sports and recreation centers (41.5 percent).

As in past years, a majority of pools covered in the report are used for either leisure and recreation, or a combination of recreation and competition. Only 1.5 percent of respondents with aquatics said their pools are used only for competition. More than half (51.7 percent) said their pools are home to both recreational and competitive swimming. And 46.9 percent of respondents said their pools are used for recreation and leisure. (See Figure 38.)

Pools that were used for leisure and recreation only were most commonly found among respondents from camps. Some 85.5 percent of camp respondents said their aquatic facilities were for leisure and recreation. They were followed by health clubs (67.4 percent) and community sports and recreation centers (54.8 percent). Respondents from schools were the least likely to have pools that were just for recreation, with 12.9 percent of school respondents indicating their pools were for recreation only.

Competition pools were most prevalent among school respondents. Some 22.6 percent of school respondents with aquatics said their pools were for competition only. They were followed by colleges, where 4.3 percent said their pools are just for competition, and Ys where just 1 percent said they had competitive pools. No other respondents had pools that were strictly used for competition.

Pools used for a combination of recreation and competition were most commonly found among aquatic respondents from Ys. Some 65 percent of Y respondents said their pools were used for a combination of recreation and competition. They were followed by schools (64.5 percent) and parks (60.3 percent).

Pools & Budgets

From 2015 to 2016, and over the next two years as well, respondents with aquatics are seeing smaller increases in their overall operating expenditures, when compared with respondents with no aquatic elements. From 2015 to 2016, aquatic respondents saw their average operating expenses grow by 16.7 percent, from $2,229,000 to $2,601,000. This compares with a 19.5 percent increase for respondents with no aquatics, from $1,171,000 in 2015 to $1,399,000 in 2016.

Looking forward, aquatic respondents expect their average overall operating expenses to grow by 2.7 percent, to $2,671,000 by 2018. Respondents without aquatics are expecting their operating expenses to grow by 6.4 percent, to an average of $1,489,000 in 2018.

The average operating expense for aquatics only also saw an increase from 2015 to 2016, though this increase was smaller than for overall operating budgets. Aquatic operating expenses grew 10 percent in this time period, from $458,000 to $504,000. Over the next two years, aquatic respondents expect their aquatic operating expenses to grow by 13.1 percent, to an average of $570,000 in 2018. (See Figure 39.)

Respondents from parks reported the highest overall average aquatic operating expenditure for 2016, with an average of $675,000. They were followed by respondents from Ys ($557,000), community sports and recreation centers ($404,000) and health clubs ($301,000). Respondents from camps had the lowest average aquatic operating expenditure in 2016, at $101,000. They were followed by schools ($205,000) and colleges and universities ($250,000).